PROBLEMS OF LAW AND ORDER, AMERICAN WEST (1840-1895)

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AMERICAN WEST (1840-1895)

PROBLEMS OF LAW AND ORDER:

Federal territory:

The first settlers of the American West had to be extremely tough to survive, so law and order was a rough and ready business in the newly settled territories. Things started to improve as more people arrived, and federal territories became fully fledged American states.

At first, newly-occupied land on The Plains was federal territory(it belonged to the US government)and was administered by a governor, three judges and a US marshal.

When the area reached a population of 5,000, it became a territory, with - in addition - locally elected sheriffs, who could deal with local criminals. New territories were notoriously lawless.

Miners in the mining towns set up miners' courts, which settled local matters such as disputed claims, but were powerless to stop gangs of outlaws or rustlers.

In many areas, local citizens set up vigilante groups

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