This edition also incorporates changes the author originally planned for a second printing, provided to Quid Pro Books by the Library Special Collections at Penn and authorized by his family. Part of the Classics of Law & Society Series from Quid Pro Books, the anniversary edition also includes explanatory Notes of the Series Editor by Steven Alan Childress, senior professor of law at Tulane University.
A book that has become a standard part of the canon in its field, but over time grew to be too expensive for researchers and libraries to obtain, is now easily downloaded in a well-formatted ebook. Other features include linked Contents and notes, fully linked and paginated Index, and close reading of the text against the original so that its legacy is properly and accurately presented.
This book traces the direct and indirect influences of the social institution of chattel slavery on the evolution of penal systems and practices in Europe and the United States — a dismal story. The author reveals the darkest and most brutal aspects of penal history and the social forces that resisted or nullified the efforts of reformers who sought to bring about humanization of the punishment. The book shows that domestic punishments inflicted on slaves by masters later become legal punishments for crimes committed by low-class freedmen — eventually to become legal sanctions against offenders regardless of social status. A dominant force is the class and caste structure of society that is reflected in the determination of what conduct should be defined as criminal, who should be punished, and what the punishment should be. Topics include ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages in Europe, galley slaves and naval arsenal prisons in maritime countries, penal creation of public works, the rise of houses of correction, invention of the treadmill, practices in England and Russia, slavery in the antebellum South, and twentieth-century U.S. chain gangs, penal farms, and convict-lease system.