American criminal justice underwent profound transformations in the period between the American Revolution and 1850. At the most basic level, moral or religious offenses so prevalent in colonial penal codes were increasingly rare in the north in the period after the Revolutionary War, though they persisted on the books in the south. During the 19th century, property offenses, especially larceny (and variations of larceny like horse theft), and disorderly conduct (including drunkenness and vagrancy) dominated the criminal courts in northern states. Policing ...

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