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A History of American Law$
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Lawrence M. Friedman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190070885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190070885.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

(p.551) 10 Crime and Punishment
A History of American Law

Lawrence M. Friedman

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the development of criminal law in the second half of the nineteenth century, covering the statute law of crimes, crime rates, insanity, punishment and correction, and victimless crimes. The formal criminal law in the late nineteenth century was by and large a matter of statute. The concept of the common-law crime had been wiped out in federal law. The concept also decayed on the state level. As of 1900, some states still technically recognized the possibility of a common-law crime. Other states, by statute, had specifically abolished the concept. Only acts listed in the penal code were crimes, and nothing else. In some states, the courts construed their penal codes as (silently) abolishing common-law crime. Where the concept survived, it was hardly ever used; the penal codes were as a practical matter complete and exclusive—the total catalog of crime.

Keywords:   criminal law, nineteenth century, state level, crimes, crime rates, punishment

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