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State Trials in Post-revolution British North America

  • Barry Wright
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Histories of Policing, Punishment and Justice book series (PHPPJ)

Abstract

Prosecutions for treason and sedition, supported by executive measures such as suspensions of habeas corpus and deportations, saw courtrooms as a site of repression and resistance, and sometimes a place of counter-hegemonic success. There is a rich record of such ‘state trials’ in the British North American colonies that remained after 1776, a reflection of loyalist reaction to the American, French and Irish revolts. The anxieties of colonial elites continued after the War of 1812, their power increasingly challenged by organised political opposition and an emerging popular public sphere. Canada’s revolutionary moment, the 1837–38 rebellions, was contained by the modernisation of the colonial state. State trials remained a colonising resource as Ottawa displaced London after the Age of Revolution.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Law and Legal StudiesCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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