To understand the world, you have to understand a place like Mississippi.
—Willie Morris, attributed to William Faulkner1
For most of its two hundred years of existence, the state of Mississippi has maintained a hold on the American imagination out of all proportion to its modest size and its location far from the main centers of American power. Writers and other artists of great talent have addressed Mississippi’s culture, its landscape, its economy, its racial sins, and its racial promise. But no one has comprehensively examined the evolution of Mississippi’s legal system or examined the role that law has played in the state’s larger culture. This book, written as Mississippi marks its bicentennial, aims to create a broader understanding of the state from this heretofore little-explored perspective....
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