Cross-Dressing Laws and Expansion of American Policing

Lecture Description

Between 1848 and 1864, a dozen U.S. cities passed laws prohibiting cross-dressing. Scholars have connected this development to broader public decency campaigns aimed at wrestling control of thriving urban centers from workers, immigrants, and vagrants. But these laws can also be linked to enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act before the Civil War and growing attempts to restrict the movement of free blacks afterwards. This talk examines connections between black freedom, gender nonconformity, and the expansion of American Policing in the nineteenth-century.


Gender, Masculinity, Femininity Legal and Constitutional

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