Fighting was considered a custom in the early 1800’s. It was not uncommon to see quarrels between different families, or within individual families
Over time, there developed different types of fighting… • Brawls between the common folk, such as farmers and townspeople • Brawls between political figures, such as legislatures and courts - Brawls between “gentlemen” (these were considered hand-to-hand and not particularly dangerous)
Some duels were more serious than others. Duels between the “gentlemen”, were more civilized and safe. Those between the countrymen and common men, were more serious, rough, and sometimes even ended in death. • Many times, for the common folk, duels and brawls would end with someone hurt, in some cases very badly, and other times, depending if the loser was “crying” hard enough to admit a loss.
Aside from these brawls and duels that were custom to everyday life, gouging was not unheard of. (Basically the plucking out of eyeballs) On the topic of slavery, whippings, beatings and things of that nature were a part of everyday life in the South, but not particularly in the North.
The last major issue covered were hangings. These occasions were not necessarily popular or common, but when they did occur they drew huge crowds. People would travel as far as 25 miles to see an execution. On a side note, it was mentioned that guards holding the prisoner would often hire people called “watchers” to watch the prisoner due to be hanged. The reason being: “…so that the culprit should not, by suicide, cheat them out of the day’s gains…” (Reshaping of Everyday life)