Mass Hysteria Case Analysis

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Historians have presented many perspectives as for why Leo Frank was incarcerated, which include gender, mass hysteria, and anti-Semitism, with mass hysteria presenting the strongest argument. All these arguments recognize the breach in justice that occurred in the case, but they differ when presenting why this breach in justice occurred. An advocate for the gender perspective, Nancy MacLean, looks at the attitudes of the time and is able to support her perspective, but the argument falters when relating gender to anti-Semitism. The perspective stating that mass hysteria was the driving force behind the guilty verdict is able to effectively explain why the public and police concentrated on Leo Frank and was able to overlook important facts, but fails to address the many appeal attempts.…show more content…
The mass hysteria perspective is unable to account for how Leo Frank failed to win an appeal at nearly every level of government, “Following the verdict, Frank and his attorney appealed against this sentence as far as to the United States Supreme Court, but without success.”11 While mass hysteria was able to account for the local courts, the mass hysteria cannot account for the Supreme Court ruling. While there was a great deal of public pressure in Georgia, the sentiments felt there were not widespread throughout the entire country. In fact, in some states, such as California, there was widespread support for Leo Frank.13 When the case reached the Supreme Court, they did not have the public pressure that the courts below it did, therefore mass hysteria cannot account for the ruling in that case. The Supreme Court said they merely found minor infractions in the trial, but nothing that would force them to have a retrial.14 There ruling means they found the trial for Leo Frank fair and accurate, without public
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