American West - Problems of Law + Order

This document has bullet points on the key things you will need to know about the problems of law and order in the american west.

Points can be found in further detail on bbc bitesize if needed, in written form.

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  • Created by: Georgia
  • Created on: 11-04-13 20:59
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Problems of Law + Order
Federal Territory
· newly occupied land on the Plains was federal territory (belonged to
US government)
· when area reached population of 5,000, it became a territory
· new territories were lawless
· miners in mining towns set up miner's courts
· many areas, local citizens set up vigilante groups who gave justice to
people suspected of crimes
· when population reached 60,000, territory became a state ­ own laws,
government + finances ­ still US marshal with responsibility for
· slowly, helped by communication (telegraph) law + order was
Key People
· Pat Garrett ­ shot Billy the Kid
· Wyatt Earp ­ shoot out with Clanton gang at the OK Corral
Problems of Law + Order in West
· distance ­ difficult to cover large areas and isolated communities
· poverty + harsh conditions ­ people were prepared to resort to
desperate measures
· more men than women ­ no claiming influence prostitution
· different races ­ differences of language + culture led to there being
little sense of a united community
· culture of violence ­ everyone carried guns and sorted out problems
by using violence
· land claims + gold ­ arguments over land ownership greed,
gamblers, criminals
· cattle barons ­ fear of reprisal 'respectable' citizens were scared to
speak out
· poor court system ­ juries could be bribed + often biased, judges
often had poor knowledge of law courts often gave unfair verdicts
lack of convictions
· vigilantes ­ often as much a problem as the criminals


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