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Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s
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Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  6 reviews
In 1950s America, it was remarkably easy for police to arrest almost anyone for almost any reason. The criminal justice system-and especially the age-old law of vagrancy-played a key role not only in maintaining safety and order but also in enforcing conventional standards of morality and propriety. A person could be arrested for sporting a beard, making a speech, or ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published February 22nd 2016 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 1st 2016)
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Sheryl
I did find this book to be very compelling in the fact that the police did use the Vagrancy law to which any officer within the same agency saw fit. One officer might pass something by then in a few minutes time another officer would happen by and fill a whole paddy wagon full of "Vagrants" up even though they had jobs, money and a place to live. The police raids and stereotyping were just hard to believe. This all began before the civil rights era and also at the beginning of the Cold War. It ...more
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
I received a copy of Vagrant Nation by Risa Goluboff from its publishers, Oxford University Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

With its subtitle of 'Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s' and the fact of it having been written by a law professor, I did wonder if I might struggle to understand Vagrant Nation. Happily, it is remarkably accessible for non-lawyers or law students and, other than an occasional legalese phrase or two, I not only
...more
Fraser Sherman
American common law and statutes for centuries criminalized vagrancy. In theory that was a way to maintain public order by corralling suspicious strangers, wanderers and people hanging around (for example) jewelry stores with no particular purpose. In practice it was an incredibly flexible law that allowed cops to bust anyone they didn't approve of — labor organizers, hippies, interracial couples, civil rights activists, homosexuals and buskers. Goluboff traces the challenges to the law from ...more
William Engeman
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is much more than important scholarship

As a retired lawyer whose career tracked the '60's, I found this extraordinary work of legal scholarship consoling. This is a work of good sense. Many things that changed in my time have felt disturbing. But now, thanks to Dean Goluboff, I begin to see the point. I suggest you read it and see how you FEEL.
eddie
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ultimately, there is no single story of vagrancy statutes, which results in a book that at times struggles with vignettes of legal challenges spread across the nation and over several decades. Prof. Goluboff does yoeman's work trying to corral the multiplicity of vagrancy statutes and their applications. The laws themselves are as diverse as the evils they were intended to address: idle men, race mixing, homosexuals, labor organizers, political nonconformists, etc. The book ably follows the ...more
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My rating is based on an unpublished version of this book.
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