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A Legal History of MississippiRace, Class, and the Struggle for Opportunity$
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Joseph A. Ranney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496822574

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496822574.001.0001

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Flush Times, Hard Times: Law, Jacksonism, and a Cotton Economy

Flush Times, Hard Times: Law, Jacksonism, and a Cotton Economy

(p.54) Chapter Three Flush Times, Hard Times: Law, Jacksonism, and a Cotton Economy
A Legal History of Mississippi

Joseph A. Ranney

University Press of Mississippi

American states implemented many important legal reforms during the age of Andrew Jackson. Mississippi, always enthusiastic for Jackson, pioneered several of those reforms but was slow to adopt others. Mississippi was the first state to provide for popular election of all its judges (1832) and at the urging of Piety Smith Hadley, an underappreciated figure in women’s history, it was the first to give women the right to control their own property (1839). Mississippi judges strongly resisted federal judges’ efforts to limit the extent to which legislatures could regulate corporations. Mississippi legislators actively regulated banks and other fledgling corporations but also guaranteed many banks’ obligations in order to sustain the credit system on which the state’s cotton economy relied. When early banks failed and their obligations fell due, Mississippi, unlike most Jacksonian states, repudiated its guarantees and rejected legal challenges to repudiation.

Keywords:   Mississippi, Women’s property rights, Jacksonian, Banks, Repudiation

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