Strain of Violence: Historical Studies of American Violence and Vigilantism

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Jan 2, 1975 - History - 408 pages
These essays, written by leading historian of violence and Presidential Commission consultant Richard Maxwell Brown, consider the challenges posed to American society by the criminal, turbulent, and depressed elements of American life and the violent response of the established order. Covering violent incidents from colonial American to the present, Brown presents illuminating discussions of violence and the American Revolution, black-white conflict from slave revolts to the black ghetto riots of the 1960s, the vigilante tradition, and two of America's most violent regions--Central Texas, whic.

From inside the book

Selected pages


Patterns of American Violence
The American Vigilante Tradition
The San Francisco
Legal and Behavioral
Blacks and Whites
A Selective Listing of American Colonial Riots

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 3 - I hope I am over wary ; but if I am not, there is even now something of ill omen amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country — the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judgment of conrts, and the worse than savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice.
Page 145 - Of all classes and professions, the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold the laws. He is their sworn servant; and for him, of all men in the world, to repudiate and override the laws, to trample them under foot, and to ignore the very bands of society, argues recreancy to his position and office, and sets a pernicious example to the insubordinate and dangerous elements of the body politic. It manifests a want of fidelity to the system of lawful government which he has sworn to uphold and preserve.
Page 3 - Accounts of outrages committed by mobs form the every-day news of the times. They have pervaded the country from New England to Louisiana; they are neither peculiar to the eternal snows of the former nor the burning suns of the latter ; they are not the creature of climate, neither are they confined to the slave-holding or the non-slave-holding states. Alike they spring up among the pleasure-hunting masters of Southern slaves, and the order-loving citizens of the land of steady habits.
Page 62 - Eleventh. That a committee be chosen in every county, city, and town, by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in the legislature, whose business it shall be attentively to observe the conduct of all persons touching this association ; and when it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of a majority of any such committee, that any person within the limits of their appointment has violated this association, that such majority do forthwith cause the truth of the case to be published...
Page 352 - I suggest the use of the term contraculture wherever the normative system of a group contains, as a primary element, a theme of conflict with the values of the total society where personality variables are directly involved in the development and maintenance of the group's values, and wherever its norms can be understood only by reference to the relationships of the group to a surrounding dominant culture.
Page 95 - We are believers in the doctrine of popular sovereignty; that the people of this country are the real sovereigns, and that whenever the laws, made by those to whom they have delegated their authority, are found inadequate to their protection, it is the right of the people to take the protection of their property into their own hands, and deal with these villains according to their just desserts.
Page 34 - Angeles Times building (by the McNamara brothers of the supposedly conservative American Federation of Labor)153 led Louis Adamic correctly to label the late-19th-early-20th-century period as the era of dynamite in American labor relations. The Western mining State of Colorado affords a paradigm of the dynamite era of labor violence. From 1884 to 1914, Colorado had its own "Thirty Years War" of strikes and violence which typified the economic, class, and ethnic tensions of the period.154 Colorado's...
Page 215 - During the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, the application of quantitative methods of science was extended to psychology and so to education. This period saw the development of the 'test' phenomenon, which culminated in the test boom of the 1920 to 1930 period.
Page 144 - According to the testimony of careful observers, it is very seldom abused, and its proceedings are generally conducted with some regularity of form as well as fairness of spirit. What are the circumstances? Those highly technical rules of judicial procedure and still more technical rules of evidence which America owes to the English common law, and which have in some States retained antiquated...

Bibliographic information