"Wild Liberty"

"Wild liberty develops iron conscience," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his 1844 essay, "Politics." "Want of liberty," in contrast, "by strengthening law and decorum, stupefies conscience." In the nineteenth century, this belief was common in the more established northeast U.S., and remains popular today: less law means more liberty means more conscientious people. These reports explore what was true and false in these ideas.

Robert Holloways Horses

The Murder of Eric Janson of Bishop Hill

Lincoln's Militia in Mercer County, 1832

Joe Duncan's House of Ill Repute, and Horse Thieves

The Banditti of the Prairie and the Murder of Colonel Davenport

The North Henderson Murder

The Gilson Murder

The 1918 Crime Spree

Prohibition in the Quad Cities











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