A historical survey of state and local governments, including the role and responsibilities each has in its community and influential mayors, governors, and others.
A historical survey of the presidential cabinet, from its beginnings to current structure, including its executive role and influential members such as Salmon P. Chase.
A historical survey of the United States House of Representatives, from its beginnings to present struggles, including its role in Congress and influential members.
A historical survey of the United States presidency, from its beginnings to current issues, including its role as executive and influential presidents such as Andrew Jackson.
A historical survey of the United States Senate, from its beginnings to current issues, including its role in Congress and influential senators such as Daniel Webster and Hillary Clinton.
A historical survey of the United States Supreme Court, from its beginnings to present decisions, including its judicial role and influential justices such as Earl Warren.
American society in the 1800s had a rough edge to it. In a nation made up of people of diverse backgrounds and heritage, social controls needed to be strict and enforceable. The extreme economic inequality of Americas cities and the wide open moral code of the frontier led to a culture of crime and violence that still plagues our country. During the 1800s, professional police forces were established in cities, towns, and territories across the continent. On the frontier, justice was often swift and severe, with hanging judges making their reputations as representatives of the law in a lawless land. Long prison sentences in miserable conditions were the rule for criminals, and many a prisoner might have preferred the option of a quick execution. Before the reform of the legal system, which is an ongoing process, there was definitely a separate law, and a separate standard of penalties, for the rich and for the poor. The evolution of a humane penal system and a fairer protection of all citizens under the law is an important contribution of 1800s America to the modern world.