When it came to the Civil War, Michiganians never spoke with one voice. At the beginning of the conflict, family farms defined the southern Lower Peninsula, while a sparsely settled frontier characterized the state’s north. Although differing strategies for economic development initially divided Michigan’s settlers, by the 1850s Michiganians’ attention increasingly focused on slavery, race, and the future of the national union.
The History of Michigan Law offers the first serious survey of Michigan's rich legal past. Michigan legislators have played a leading role in developing modern civil rights law, protecting the environment, and assuring the right to counsel for those accused of crimes. Michigan was the first jurisdiction in the English-speaking world to abolish the death penalty.