existing police organizations presented a "serious handicap to effective
and economical" law enforcement. The idea of a state police was advanced as the best remedy for this defect, as it would provide centralized
and coordinated statewide police forces.
23 Rhetoric aside, the primary
factors leading to the development of the state police were the increase
in immigration from eastern and southern Europe and the desire to curb
the growing labor movement.
The thesis of this book is that, rather than being a unique occurrence,
the creation of the state police followed a recurring pattern in the history
of social control. As those at the top of the social class hierarchy perceive
a threat to their position of dominance, new and improved methods of
preserving the status quo will be established. Whether it be the Royal
Irish Constabulary, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or the Colorado Rangers, the idea of centralization was used to bolster or replace
social control mechanisms that had become inadequate in the face of
greater challenges from below. As with immigration restriction, prohibition, scientific management, commission forms of city government,
eugenics, the juvenile court, and education reform, centralized state
police forces were part of a massive effort on the part of the dominant
segments of society to preserve their values and ideas of social order.
Jerome Hall, Theft, Law, and Society ( Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs Merrill, 1956); William J. Chambliss
, "A Sociological Analysis of the Law of Vagrancy," Social Problems 12
(Summer 1964): 67-77.
Ernest K. Alix, Ransom Kidnapping in America, 1874-1974 : The Creation of a Capital
Crime ( Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978); Howard S. Becker, Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance ( New York: Free Press, 1963); Joseph R. Gusfield
, Symbolic Crusade: Status Politics and the American Temperance Movement ( Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1963); Alfred R. Lindesmith, The Addict and the Law
( Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965); Pamela A. Roby, "Politics and Criminal
Law: Revision of the New York State Penal Law on Prostitution," Social Problems 17
(Summer 1969): 83-109.
Steven Vago, Law in Society ( Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1988), p. 121.
William J. Chambliss, "The State and Criminal Law," in Whose Law? What Order?: A Conflict Approach to Criminology, edited by
William J. Chambliss and
( New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1976), p. 67.
Hall, Theft, Law, and Society; Chambliss, "A Sociological Analysis"; Douglas Hay
et al., Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth Century England ( New York: Pantheon Books, 1975); E. P. Thompson, Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act
( New York: Random House, 1975).
Gusfield, Symbolic Crusade.
Becker, Outsiders; Lindesmith, The Addict; Troy Duster, The Legislation of Morality: Law, Drugs, and Moral Judgment ( New York: Free Press, 1970).