By James L Conyers
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Extra info for Black American intellectualism and culture : a social study of African American social and political thought
But Webb and his friends discovered that Cilley already had left his room, so they raced to the Maryland dueling ground. They agreed that if they came upon the duel in progress Webb would ask Cilley to fight. If Cilley refused and raised his rifle at Graves, Webb would shoot him. Webb and his friends considered the possibility that someone might first try to kill Webb-perhaps even his good friend Graves! Webb agreed that under these circumstances he would first shoot Cilley and then they would all defend themselves as well as possible.
Raves duel of 1 838. This duel, in some ways, was rather unusual. It was the only Ameri can duel that led to the death of a sitting congressman; it involved North erners as well as Southerners; and it broke several of the conventions of proper dueling behavior. But it is a good duel to examine in detail, in part because we have so much information about it. All the major participants (short of Cilley, who died) wrote accounts of the affair, and the death of a congressman led to a full-scale investigation and report.
Even in states without antidueling statutes common law prosecution was possible. But Southern prosecutors, unlike their Northern counterparts, rarely enforced laws against dueling. When a possibility of enforcement existed, duelists crossed borders or even dueled on borders in order to create just enough ambiguity in legal jurisdiction to discourage indictment. Even when duelists did come to trial, Southern juries almost never found them guilty. 2 To understand the importance of duels in Southern political life we must recognize that they were a public activity that involved large numbers of people.
Black American intellectualism and culture : a social study of African American social and political thought by James L Conyers