American Liberty and Justice

John Smith, Will Wordsworth

Published by: Texas Tech University Press

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American Liberty and Justice

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Broke, Not Broken

Homer Maxey's Texas Bank War

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A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform

Perspectives from a Former US Attorney General

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Quite Contrary

The Litigious Life of Mary Bennett Love

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The Reckoning

The Triumph of Order on the Texas Outlaw Frontier

Peter R. Rose, with foreword by T. R. Fehrenbach

Isolated by geology and passed over by development, the vast, waterless tablelands of the Edwards Plateau of Texas became the stage for one of the great nineteenth-century dramas of western justice. In 1873, opportunistic Anglo-Celtic cattlemen and homesteaders, protected by little other than personal firearms and their own bravado, began settling the stream-laced rangelands east of the plateau. An insidious criminal element soon followed: a family-based tribal confederation of frontier outlaws took root in the canyonlands around the forks of the Llano River, in unorganized and lawless Kimble County. Sometimes disguised as Indians, they preyed on neighbors, northbound trail herds, and stockmen in adjacent counties. They robbed stagecoaches repeatedly. They traded in border markets alongside Mexican Indian raiders, and may have participated in the brutal Dowdy massacre of 1878.Outnumbering and intimidating law-abiding settlers, the confederation took over the nascent Kimble County government in 1876. Only dogged persistence by Texas Rangers, with increasing support from citizens and local law officers, would stem the tide. Meticulously researched and documented, The Reckoning examines all the players. Rose shows frontier West Texas as it really was: a raw, lawless, unforgiving place and time that yielded only stubbornly to Order and its handmaiden, the Rule of Law.

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Showdown in the Big Quiet

Land, Myth, and Government in the American West

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Skullduggery, Secrets, and Murders

The 1894 Wells Fargo Scam That Backfired

In 1894, George Isaacs, the penniless black sheep of his family, was running with the worst of the outlaws in the Oklahoma Territory. There, a get-rich-quick scheme that seemed foolproof was hatched up. The plan was for George to present money packets falsely purporting to contain $25,000 in cash to the Wells Fargo office in Kansas City. Wells Fargo was to ship the packets via the Santa Fe railroad to George at Canadian, Texas, where George’s cronies would then rob the depot office and steal the phony money packets, thus allowing George Isaacs to sue Wells Fargo for his lost fortune. The plan backfired when the sheriff was on hand when the train arrived. The bandits killed the sheriff but then panicked and raced back to the Territory without grabbing the bogus packets.
        Wells Fargo sent an undercover agent to investigate, but the outlaws discovered him, and the agent was assassinated. The two murders led to eight trials, but only one man, George Isaacs, was ever convicted—and even he managed to beat a life sentence. One question lingered: was George truly behind the scam?
        The identities of the masterminds behind the foiled plot have remained a mystery for more than a hundred years. With his usual rough-and-tumble tenacity, Bill Neal undertakes the investigation of these two cold-case murders.

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Treasure State Justice

Judge George M. Bourquin, Defender of the Rule of Law

Arnon Gutfeld

Few works reveal anything about the role of federal judges in the early twentieth-century American West. Arnon Gutfeld fills that void by analyzing the major issues and dilemmas those judges faced as the West moved rapidly from frontier justice to twentieth-century legal realities. George M. Bourquin served as Federal District judge in Montana from 1912 to 1934. He dared to issue rulings that captured national attention and aroused the ire of the Department of Justice. During the mass fear and hysteria of World War I and the Red Scare, he was one of very few judges to defend individual liberty. His decision in the Ves Hall Case elicited a knee-jerk reaction from Washington--the notorious Anti-Sedition Act of 1918.
          A Jeffersonian conservative-libertarian—in the tradition of Edmund Burke—Bourquin believed the Constitution to be the sole barrier between civilization and barbarism. Especially important were his decisions in labor, Native American, and immigration issues.
          Coinciding with the federal government’s largest role over the destiny of the American West, Bourquin’s judicial career provides a unique opportunity to examine the great impact that the legal system and a very unusual judge had in the post-territorial frontier period.

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