Nancy O. Gallman
Barra Postdoctoral Fellow
“American Constitutions: Life, Liberty, and Property in the Early Southeastern Borderlands”
Nancy’s project analyzes the history of legal pluralism, or multicultural sources of law, in the Florida–Georgia borderlands during the revolutionary era. Attempts by Anglo-Americans to take East Florida by force failed in part because of alliances that Native groups, people of African descent, and Spanish officials built on the strength of a plural legal culture. Working at the intersections of social, intellectual, and legal history, she compares Spanish colonial law and the laws of the Lower Creeks and Seminoles in conflicts over land, robberies, runaway slaves, and murder. Her work shows how diverse principles of law defined relations between indigenous peoples, African Americans, and settlers in the Southeast, at a time when the United States sought to expand the authority of an Anglo-American legal framework and use it to control more land, commerce, and people.