Mormons Moonshiners & Cowboys,

Author: Stephen Cresswell

Federal Law Enforcement in the South & West, 1870-1893

In the decades immediately following the Civil War, the United States expanded rapidly. As the nation grew, so too did federal law, moving into areas of citizens’ lives previously regulated by local custom and state and territorial statutes. Stephen Cresswell draws on contemporary accounts and the letters that flowed between the Washington office of the Justice Department and its attorneys and marshals throughout the states and territories to explore the enforcement of federal law.

Nine black-robed justices of the United States Supreme Court are the most obvious symbol of the federal legal system. Cresswell shifts attention away from Washington, D.C., and examines instead the day-to-day adventures of federal prosecutors and marshals in isolated court towns of the American South and West. Using a case study approach, the book sheds new light on important chapters of American history, including Reconstruction in Mississippi, Mormon polygamy in Utah, moonshining in Tennessee, and the frontier lawlessness of Arizona.

But  Mormons and Cowboys, Moonshiners and Klansmen goes beyond these local case studies to illuminate larger questions including the evolution of the American criminal justice system, the relationship of the South and the West to the rest of the nation, the workings of the nineteenth-century American bureaucracy, and conflict between the local, state, and federal governments.

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