Backcountry Democracy and the Whiskey Insurrection
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Backcountry Democracy and the Whiskey Insurrection

The Legal Culture and Trials, 1794-1795

Title Details

Pages: 364

Illustrations: 13 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in

Formats

Hardcover

Pub Date: 04/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6626-5

List Price: $114.95

eBook

Pub Date: 04/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6627-2

List Price: $32.95

Paperback

Pub Date: 04/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6624-1

List Price: $32.95

eBook

Pub Date: 04/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6625-8

List Price: $32.95

Backcountry Democracy and the Whiskey Insurrection

The Legal Culture and Trials, 1794-1795

A holistic picture of the legal culture of the Whiskey Insurrection of 1794

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Backcountry Democracy and the Whiskey Insurrection treats the legal culture that informed the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 and its trials. Linda Myrsiades examines conflicts between state and federal courts and the judicial philosophy of Federalist judges, as well as grand jury charges, law reports, judges’ bench notes, and defense notes for the trials, to develop a portrait of the hegemony of official interpretations of the law. At the same time, the book illuminates popular attitudes about the courts and the law and explores the nature of extralegal courts operated by the people.

Myrsiades captures the agitation-propaganda efforts mounted by rebel communities and groups together with petitions and speeches in the rebel assemblies in demonstrating that popular culture offered a clear politico-legal justification within the rebel movement on the unofficial side of legal culture. Myrsiades thus presents a holistic picture of the legal culture of the rebellion. Her examination denies the common perception that the rebel movement was incoherent and chaotic and presents an alternative view that its perceptions are a necessary correlative to understanding how treason law functioned and what its critical elements were in the late-eighteenth century, serving as a lesson for democracy in the present era.

Backcountry Democracy and the Whiskey Insurrection offers the most nuanced and accurate understanding of the “Western Insurrection” available. Court cases—examined more closely here than in any previous study—illustrate the nascent emergence of a new national court system.

—Robert Martin, author of Government by Dissent: Protest, Resistance, and Radical Democratic Thought in the Early American Republic

About the Author/Editor

LINDA MYRSIADES is professor emerita of English and Comparative Literature at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of several books, including Law and Medicine in Revolutionary America and Medical Culture in Revolutionary America. Myrsiades lives and writes in the Philadelphia suburbs.