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Fatal FictionsCrime and Investigation in Law and Literature$
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Alison L. LaCroix, Richard H. McAdams, and Martha C. Nussbaum

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190610784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190610784.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2020

Crime Scenes

Crime Scenes

Fictions of Security in the Antebellum American Borderlands

(p.259) 14 Crime Scenes
Fatal Fictions

Caleb Smith

Oxford University Press

Chapter 14 moves the focus to the role of spatial claims to jurisprudential standing over allegories of transcendent justice. Smith’s case study is the popular literature that emerged from the struggle over Cherokee removal between the 1830s and the 1850s. The minister Samuel Worcester’s letters from a Georgia prison. William Gilmore Simms’s crime fiction suggested that encounters between antagonistic communities along the edges of jurisdictions would produce crime; he argued for the imposition of a single authority to secure the peace. John Rollin Ridge reworked the same sensational genre to produce the figure of the outlaw as an agent of vengeance in newly annexed California, with its syncretic legal system and its rampant racist vigilantism. Smith shows how each of these texts attempted to coordinate the relations between territories and moral communities in an imperial context.

Keywords:   antebellum America, Cherokee removal, Samuel Worcester, Native Americans, California, William Gilmore Simms, John Rollin Ridge

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