Deadly Censorship
191 pages
English

Deadly Censorship

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191 pages
English
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Description

On January 15, 1903, South Carolina lieutenant governor James H. Tillman shot and killed Narciso G. Gonzales, editor of South Carolina's most powerful newspaper, the State. Blaming Gonzales's stinging editorials for his loss of the 1902 gubernatorial race, Tillman shot Gonzales to avenge the defeat and redeem his "honor" and his reputation as a man who took bold, masculine action in the face of an insult.

James Lowell Underwood investigates the epic murder trial of Tillman to test whether biting editorials were a legitimate exercise of freedom of the press or an abuse that justified killing when camouflaged as self-defense. This clash—between the revered values of respect for human life and freedom of expression on the one hand and deeply engrained ideas about honor on the other—took place amid legal maneuvering and political posturing worthy of a major motion picture. One of the most innovative elements of Deadly Censorship is Underwood's examination of homicide as a deterrent to public censure. He asks the question, "Can a man get away with murdering a political opponent?" Deadly Censorship is courtroom drama and a true story.

Underwood offers a painstaking re-creation of an act of violence in front of the State House, the subsequent trial, and Tillman's acquittal, which sent shock waves across the United States. A specialist on constitutional law, Underwood has written the definitive examination of the court proceedings, the state's complicated homicide laws, and the violent cult of personal honor that had undergirded South Carolina society since the colonial era.


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Publié par
Date de parution 15 décembre 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611173000
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 4 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

James Lowell Underwood investigates the epic murder trial of Tillman to test whether biting editorials were a legitimate exercise of freedom of the press or an abuse that justified killing when camouflaged as self-defense. This clash—between the revered values of respect for human life and freedom of expression on the one hand and deeply engrained ideas about honor on the other—took place amid legal maneuvering and political posturing worthy of a major motion picture. One of the most innovative elements of Deadly Censorship is Underwood's examination of homicide as a deterrent to public censure. He asks the question, "Can a man get away with murdering a political opponent?" Deadly Censorship is courtroom drama and a true story.

Underwood offers a painstaking re-creation of an act of violence in front of the State House, the subsequent trial, and Tillman's acquittal, which sent shock waves across the United States. A specialist on constitutional law, Underwood has written the definitive examination of the court proceedings, the state's complicated homicide laws, and the violent cult of personal honor that had undergirded South Carolina society since the colonial era.


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DEADLY CENSORSHIP
Lieutenant Governor James H. Tillman shooting newspaperman N. G. Gonzales.Charlotte Observer, January 15, 1961, C1. Illustration by Eugene Payne. Courtesy of theCharlotte Observer.
Murder, Honor & Freedom of the Press
JAMES LOWELL UNDERWOOD
The University of South Carolina Press
© 2013 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press Columbia, South Carolina 29208
www.sc.edu/uscpress
22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Underwood, James L. Deadly censorship : murder, honor, and freedom of the press / James Lowell Underwood. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-61117-299-7 (hardbound : alk. paper)— ISBN 978-1-61117-300-0 (ebook) 1. Tillman, James H., 1869–1911— Trials, litigation, etc. 2. Gonzales, Narciso Gener, 1858–1903— Assasination. 3. Trials (Murder)—South Carolina—History—20th century. 4. South Carolina—Politics and government—1865–1950. I. Title. KF224.T55U53 2013
345.757'02523—DC23
2013015807
To my wife, Joan, and my daughter, Mary Ann
List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments 1. An Editor Is Censored 2. Pretrial Maneuvers 3. The First Round of the Trial 4. The Prosecution Case 5. The Defense Case 6. Tillman’s Testimony 7. The Closing Arguments 8. The Verdict Notes Bibliography Index
CONTENTS
ILLUSTRATIONS
James H. Tillman shooting N. G. GonzalesFrontispiece Narciso Gener Gonzales View from the State House, looking toward the scene of the shooting James H. Tillman Ambrosio José Gonzales Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman Tillman supporters camping out near the courthouse James H. Tillman with defense counsel George W. Croft and Patrick H. Nelson The jury J. William Thurmond South Carolina attorneys general, 1876–1903, including O. W. Buchanan, G. Duncan Bellinger, D. A. Townsend, and Young John Pope Patrick Henry Nelson George W. Croft A 1904 map of the area in which the shooting took place The prosecution presenting evidence of the bullet hole in N. G. Gonzales’s coat August Kohn James H. Tillman and George W. Croft Mamie Norris Tillman Defense attorney George Johnstone Judge Frank Gary
PREFACE
The twentieth century produced many trials grandiosely labeled “trial of the century,” largely because of the involvement of celebrity defendants and famous lawyers known for dazzling displays of legal pyrotechnics. Such trials usually featured grisly or shocking crimes laid bare in graphic testimony. An early entry in this “trial of the century” pantheon was the case resulting from the 1903 killing of N. G. Gonzales, the respected and highly influential, but acerbic, editor of theState,the leading newspaper in the South Carolina capital of Columbia, by Lieutenant Governor James H. Tillman, scion of a powerful political family. This killing initially gained notoriety because it took place in broad daylight in the shadow of the State House, on the busiest street corner of the capital city, and the victim was an unarmed journalist of national reputation. His assailant acted because he thought his rising political star and cherished honor had been shot down and trodden underfoot by a ravening pack of journalists following the Gonzales’s take-no-prisoners lead. The murder trial that followed involved a clash of revered values: freedom of the press, the sanctity of human life, and the reputation of the deceased on one side, versus the honor and dignity of the defendant on the other. The trial revealed flashes of political verbal sword-play involving the struggle between “conservatives” and Tillmanite “reformers,” demonstrating through witnesses’ testimony and judges’ rulings, the unreconstructed nature of South Carolina after Reconstruction. The trial took place during a time when journalists were sometimes the target of angry and violent reprisals by those who thought their honor had been sullied by cruel and unfair articles. The killing, the trial, and its verdict attracted nationwide attention. The unusual array of important or rising political figures involved in the case as lawyers, judges, and witnesses—and even a court reporter who later became a United States Supreme Court justice and secretary of state—make the casea unique window into the political struggles of that time and place. N. G. Gonzales trained his searching editorial eye on many of these struggles, but sometimes he relentlessly practiced the personal-attack journalism of the day. Did the shooting render him a fallen hero or a vanquished villain? The most intriguing question in this account of the Gonzales-Tillman affair is how did freedom of the press, not James H. Tillman, become the real, though not the legal, defendant in the case?
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Anyone who seeks the solution to the historical puzzle presented by the Gonzales/Tillman affair needs a great deal of help. I owe thanks to the many people who provided it. Librarians and archivists are accustomed to helping wandering authors through a thicket of historical documents and books. The administration and staff of the Coleman Karesh Library of the University of South Carolina School of Law have provided their usual expert and energetic help. Particularly deserving of thanks is Dr. Michael Mounter, historian and archivist, who continues to amaze library patrons, including me, with his remarkable research skills and willingness to be of assistance. Trial participants, lawyers, judges, witnesses, jurors, and parties are not only influenced by facts but also by their personal lives and political views. Dr. Mounter was of invaluable help in ferreting out these sometimes elusive background features. Associate Director Rebekah Maxwell has been helpful in a multitude of ways, including acting as liaison to smooth the way for my visits to distant libraries. Associate Director Pamela Melton continues to impress me with her wise perception of authors’ research goals. Director of Access Karen Taylor and her circulation-desk staff, including Joey Plumley, have once again demonstrated their talent and dedication in locating research materials through interlibrary loans. As on past projects, the reference librarians were resourceful and indefatigable. I especially thank Terrye Conroy and David Lehmann for help in the search for an elusive and obscure statute. The administration of the University of South Carolina School of Law, especially Deans Walter “Jack” Pratt, Jr., and Robert M. Wilcox, provided funds for research assistants and granted vital secretarial services. Several intrepid and skillful members of the Information Processing Center did outstanding work in typing my manuscript and keeping up with a continuous stream of revisions. Deanna Sugrue typed the manuscript from its rough-draft phase to its near maturity—and with her usual graciousness dealt politely with the curmudgeonly author. Upon Deanna’s retirement, Kimberly Bradshaw took over the typing with consummate skill. Vanessa Byars, former director of the center, lent her formidable knowledge of word processing to the trouble-shooting of problems with the manuscript and quickly mastered the labyrinthine citation system to help with the endnotes. First Ms. Byars, and then Ms. Alyne E. Hallman, as directors of the center, saw to it that I had the assistance I needed. Inge Lewis excelled in the arduous task of converting citations to the publisher’s style. Professor W. Lewis Burke, coauthor and coeditor with me on several earlier projects, read two drafts and offered perceptive and constructive advice, which I used to improve the book. Dr. Antonio Rafael de la Cova, author ofCuban ConfederaTe Colonel: he Life of Ambrosio José Gonzales,gave valuable comments and suggestions based on his deep knowledge of the Gonzales family. His website includes many letters showing N. G. Gonzales’s interactions with his family during his formative years. This is the third book on which I have worked with Dr. Alexander Moore of the University of South Carolina Press. He has been a benign and sure guide through the intricacies of the acquisition process. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the South Caroliniana Library of the University of South Carolina are wonderful repositories of documents, letters, diaries, court records, statutory and constitutional material, photographs, and hard-to-find books. The South Caroliniana Library and the Richland County Public Library provided access to historic newspapers. Both these institutions were of inestimable help in furnishing photographs of trial participants and key locations to help long-ago events come alive for modern readers. Attorney William S. Nelson II, great-grandson of leading defense attorney Patrick Henry Nelson, came to the rescue when I had difficulty obtaining a good photograph of his ancestor. TheCharloTTe Observerfurnished a vivid drawing of the shooting. The South Caroliniana Library contains deep veins of useful material to be mined. Its collection of newspaper clippings on the shooting, the trial, and its aftermath has been helpful, as have files on N. G. Gonzales and his family and on his assistant, journalist James Hoyt, Jr. This book’s discussion of journalists who dueled with outraged readers benefited greatly from material found there. The Thomas Cooper Library of the University of South Carolina has a large collection of books on southern history, which were of inestimable help. The historic newspapers database of the Library of Congress was a valuable source for contemporary accounts of historic events. I found other newspaper stories, not yet in such databases, on microfilm from libraries all over the country, as well as from the South Caroliniana Library. The David M. Rubinstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University provided access to its wide-ranging collection of American newspapers and to diaries of such figures as journalists William Watts Ball, James Calvin Hemphill, and Francis W. Dawson. The Clemson University Library contains information on the Tillman and Thurmond families, including correspondence between Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman and defense
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