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Legal History Commons

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2007

Southern Methodist University

Contracts

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Gambling, Commodity Speculation, And The 'Victorian Compromise', Joshua C. Tate Jan 2007

Gambling, Commodity Speculation, And The 'Victorian Compromise', Joshua C. Tate

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay examines two major strands of nineteenth-century jurisprudence related to gambling: Southern cases defining public and private space for the purpose of state gambling statutes, and Northern cases applying the intent to deliver test to speculative contracts. The Essay argues that both lines of cases reflect what Lawrence Friedman has termed the Victorian compromise: A strong official stance against immoral behavior is conjoined with de facto acceptance of many questionable practices, provided that they are conducted in a manner acceptable to the elite. The Essay concludes that nineteenth-century judges sought to preserve the semblance of a strict prohibition against ...