University of North Carolina Press, 2009
In the half-century following the Revolutionary War, the logic of inequality underwent a profound transformation within the southern legal system. Drawing on extensive archival research in North and South Carolina, Dr. Laura F. Edwards illuminates those changes by revealing the importance of localized legal practice. Edwards shows that following the Revolution, the intensely local legal system favored maintaining the "peace," a concept intended to protect the social order and its patriarchal hierarchies. Ordinary people, rather than legal professionals and political leaders, were central to its workings.