Murray explores how far local characteristics affected the operation of a criminal justice system transplanted from England; his analysis includes how legal processes affected Upper Canadian morality, the treatment of the insane, welfare cases, crimes committed in the district, and an examination of the roles of the Niagara magistrates, constables, and juries. Murray concludes by arguing that while the principles and culture of British justice were firmly implanted in the Niagara district, this did not prevent justice from being unequal, especially for women and visible minorities. Integrating the stories of the individuals caught up in the legal system, Murray explores law from a local perspective, and illuminates how the Niagara region's criminal justice system operated under hybrid influences from both Britain and the United States.
As the most populous state at the time of the Civil War, New York was central to winning the war. The state not only provided the most men and materiel, but was also the North's economic center as well as an important center of political and social activism. Inhabited by increasing numbers of immigrant groups, abolitionists, and an emerging free black community, New York's social and political environment was a microcosm of the larger social and political conflict being played out in the war. The symposium addressed these tensions by examining the role of women, blacks, Native Americans, and European immigrant groups in New York, particularly the various perspectives held by members of each group regarding the war effort.
The symposium examined the difficulties Abraham Lincoln faced in keeping New York favorable to his policies. It revealed the tremendous sacrifice New York made in the military campaign, as well as the treatment of Confederate soldiers at New York's Elmira Prison Camp. The State of the Union is a compilation of the papers presented at the symposium.
The essays included in the volume:
Housekeeping on Its Own Terms: Abraham Lincoln in New York, by Harold Holzer
The Volcano Under the City: The Significance of Draft Rioting in New York City and State, July 1863, by Iver Bernstein
What's Gender Got to Do With It? New York in the Age of the Civil War, by Lillian Serece Williams
In the Shadow of American Indian Removal: The Iroquois in the Civil War, by Laurance M. Hauptman
Above the Law: Abitrary Arrest, Habeas Corpus, and the Freedom of the Press in New York, by Joseph M. Bellacosa and Frank J. Williams
New York's "Andersonville: " The Elmira Military Prison, by Lonnie R. Speer
The Continuing Conflict: New York and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, by Hans Trefousse