Laws and Societies in the Canadian Prairie West, 1670-1940

UBC Press
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Laws and Societies in the Canadian Prairie West, 1670-1940 examines the legal history of the north-west frontier, from the earliest years of European-Native contact in the seventeenth century to the mid-1900s. Challenging myths about a peaceful west and prairie exceptionalism, the book explores the substance of prairie legal history and the degree to which the region's mentality is rooted in the historical experience of distinctive prairie peoples. The chapters, written by a cross-section of established and emerging scholars working in the allied fields of law, legal history, sociology, and criminology, focus on what is distinctive in prairie legal culture.

By approaching the issue from a variety of perspectives � those of colonial administrators, fur company employees, Native peoples, women, men, entrepreneurs, judges, magistrates, and the police, among others � the authors find evidence of a conscious effort to apply broad, non-regional experiences to seemingly familiar, local issues. The ways in which prairie peoples perceived themselves and their relationships to a wider world were directly framed by notions of law and legal remedy shaped by the course and themes of prairie history. Legal history is not just about black letter law. It is also deeply concerned with the ways in which people affect and are affected by the law in their daily lives. By examining how central and important the law has been to individuals, communities, and societies in the Canadian Prairies, this book makes an original contribution.

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About the author

Louis A. Knafla is professor emeritus of history at the University of Calgary. Jonathan Swainger is associate professor of history at the University of Northern British Columbia and co-editor, with Constance Backhouse, of People and Place: Historical Influences on Legal Culture, also published by UBC Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
UBC Press
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Published on
Nov 1, 2011
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9780774841450
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)
History / Canada / Pre-Confederation (to 1867)
Law / General
Law / Legal History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Knafla and his contributors explore the common problems and issues that emerge from the study of class and gender in criminal prosecutions, ranging from late medieval Europe to the early 20th century. The chapters demonstrate that conceptions of crime and criminal behavior are influenced decisively by the roles of class, gender, and later race as societies evolve in search of continuity and conformity.

The seven chapters in this volume, together with a major book review essay and critical reviews of sixteen major works in the area, reinforce the series as a major forum for exploring new directions in criminal justice research as it relates to issues and problems of class, gender, and race in their historical, criminological, legal, and social aspects. The chapters explore common themes and issues that emerge from the study of class and gender through policing and criminal prosecutions in the local community to growing attempts of the new nation state to gain control of the prosecutorial system.

Trevor Dean and Lee Beier examine prosecutorial energy in local communities of 15th and 16th century Europe, and see instruments of peace (agreement) and war (prosecution and conviction) as worthy institutions of social control. Andrea Knox studies the prosecution of Irish women, finding that they were prominent as perpetrators of crime as well as victims. Antony Simpson shows how sexual indiscretions developed the law of blackmail in the 18th century, influencing subtle changes in gender roles. David Englander's study of Henry Mayhew reinterprets the role of class in the criminal prosecutions of the 19th century, while Arvind Verma and Philippa Levine extend the roles of class and gender that had been developed in the criminal justice system into the imperial colonies of south-east and east Asia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. An important resource for scholars, students, and researchers involved with legal, political, social, and women's history, criminal justice studies, sociology and criminology, and criminal law.

“And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore,” wrote Apsley Cherry-Garrard in the opening chapters of his now classic exploration narrative, The Worst Journey in the World. The incredible tale that he tells is of the fated last voyage of Captain Robert Scott and his crew to the outermost reaches of the South Pole on the Terra Nova. Chronicling the journey of the Terra Nova from England in 1910 to New Zealand in 1913, The Worst Journey in the World vividly describes the entirety of Scott’s harrowing and tragic final expedition. Driven by a lust to investigate the untold scientific knowledge contained within the South Pole, these courageous pioneers embarked on a journey into previously unexplored territory, subjecting themselves to the ultimate physical and mental limits as they traveled the massive expanses of the icy tundra.

Cherry-Garrard was a key member of the Terra Nova crew that, in addition to the desire to uncover scientific data, desperately sought to be the first Europeans to reach the South Pole. But the expedition was thwarted at every turn by punishing weather, extreme bad luck, and the intense physical and mental decline of the crew on the final stages of their journey. Confronted by the shattering knowledge that rival explorer Roald Amundsen had reached the South Pole only a few weeks before them, Scott’s team then had to negotiate the last stage of their voyage, a doomed attempt which has no equal in peril, disaster, and tragedy.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
The federal Department of Justice was established by John A. Macdonald as part of the Conservative party's program for reform of the parliamentary system following Confederation. Among other things, it was charged with establishing national institutions such as the Supreme Court and the North West Mounted Police and with centralizing the penitentiary system. In the process, the department took on a position of primary importance in post-Confederation politics. This was particularly so up to 1878, when Confederation was "completed."

Jonathan Swainger considers the growth and development of the ostensibly apolitical Department of Justice in the eleven years after the union of 1867. Drawing on legal records and other archival documents, he details the complex interactions between law and politics, exploring how expectations both inside and outside the legal system created an environment in which the department acted as an advisor to the government. He concludes by considering the post-1878 legacy of the department's approach to governance, wherein any problem, legal or otherwise, was made amenable to politicized solutions. Unfortunately for the department and the federal government, this left them ill-prepared for the constitutional battles to come.

One crucial task was to establish responsibilities within the federal government, rather than just duplicate offices which had existed prior to union. Others were the establishment of national or quasi- national institutions such as the Supreme Court (1875) and the North-West Mounted Police (1873), the redrafting of the Governor-General's instructions (which was done between 1875 and 1877), and centralization of the penitentiary system (completed by 1875).

The Department benefited from a deeply rooted expectation that law was both apolitical and necessary. This ideology functioned in a variety of ways: it gave the Department considerable latitude for setting policy and solving problems, but rationalized the appearance of politicized legal decisions. It also legitimized Department officials' claim that it was especially suited to review all legislation, advise on the royal prerogative of mercy, administer national penitentiaries, and appoint judges to the bench. Ultimately, the fictional notion of law as apolitical and necessary placed the Department of Justice squarely in the midst of the completion of Confederation.

The Canadian Department of Justice and the Completion of Confederation will be of particular interest to students and scholars of Canadian legal and political history.

David Woodman's classic reconstruction of the mysterious events surrounding the tragic Franklin expedition has taken on new importance in light of the recent discovery of the HMS Erebus wreck, the ship Sir John Franklin sailed on during his doomed 1845 quest to find the Northwest Passage to Asia. First published in 1991, Unravelling the Franklin Mystery boldly challenged standard interpretations and offered a new and compelling alternative. Among the many who have tried to discover the truth behind the Franklin disaster, Woodman was the first to recognize the profound importance of Inuit oral testimony and to analyze it in depth. From his investigations, Woodman concluded that the Inuit likely visited Franklin's ships while the crew was still on board and that there were some Inuit who actually saw the sinking of one of the ships. Much of the Inuit testimony presented here had never before been published, and it provided Woodman with the pivotal clue in his reconstruction of the puzzle of the Franklin disaster. Unravelling the Franklin Mystery is a compelling and impressive inquiry into a part of Canadian history that for one hundred and seventy years left many questions unanswered. In this edition, a new preface by the author addresses the recent discovery and reviews the work done in the intervening years on various aspects of the Franklin story, by Woodman and others, as it applies to the book's initial premise of the book that Inuit testimony holds the key to unlocking the mystery.
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