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Kentucky Justice, Southern Honor, and American Manhood: Understanding the Life and Death of Richard Reid

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"On April 16, 1884, Kentucky Superior Court judge Richard Reid visited attorney John Jay Cornelison's office - at Cornelison's invitation - to discuss a legal matter. When he arrived, Cornelison accused the unsuspecting Reid of injuring his honor and then struck him repeatedly with a large hickory cane. He pursued Reid onto the street, where he began to lash him with a cowhide whip. Reid was reportedly struck over a hundred times before a bystander put a stop to the assault." "That seemingly minor event in the small town of Mount Sterling became
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Overview

"On April 16, 1884, Kentucky Superior Court judge Richard Reid visited attorney John Jay Cornelison's office - at Cornelison's invitation - to discuss a legal matter. When he arrived, Cornelison accused the unsuspecting Reid of injuring his honor and then struck him repeatedly with a large hickory cane. He pursued Reid onto the street, where he began to lash him with a cowhide whip. Reid was reportedly struck over a hundred times before a bystander put a stop to the assault." "That seemingly minor event in the small town of Mount Sterling became national front-page news. Northerners and southerners alike raised questions regarding Reid's response. Would he react as a Christian gentleman, a man of the law, and let the legal system take its course, or would he follow the manly dictates of the code of honor and challenge his assailant? Which choice would win out in Kentucky's notoriously violent society?" "James C. Klotter crafts a detective story, using historical, medical, legal, and psychological clues to piece together answers to the tragedy that followed. This unfolding drama of an individual versus his surrounding culture reveals much about state, regional, and national temperaments in the late nineteenth century and shows the tensions between traditional southern mores and new secular and commercial forces. It also explores the conventions, values, and confusions of the archaic code of honor that ruled the South and Reid's community in particular." A frail, sensitive yet intelligent and successful man who supported temperance and women's rights, Richard Reid seemed the antithesis of much that his society valued - strength, virility, athleticism. Klotter shows Reid as a man who sought to change the public's views on honor and violence only to become a failed hero in the end. With commanding prose, Klotter draws the reader into the social and judicial world of post-Civil War Kentucky and into the ageless question of choosing between forgiveness and forbearanc
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807128572
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Series: Southern Biography Ser.
  • Pages: 197
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

LSU Press

James C. Klotter is the author, coauthor, or editor of over a dozen books, including A New History of Kentucky; The Breckinridges of Kentucky, 1760--1981; and Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox, 1900--1950. The State Historian of Kentucky and a professor of history at Georgetown College, he lives in Lexington

LSU Press

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