Rough justice : lynching and American society, 1874-1947 /
Michael J. Pfeifer.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2004.
x, 245 p.
0252029178 (Cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2004.
0252029178 (Cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Mobs across time and space: the chronology and geography of lynching -- The making of mobs: the social relations of lynchers -- Judge lynch and the color line: mobs and race -- Rough justice and the revolt against due process: lynching as cultural conflict -- Judge lynch's demise: legal and cultural change and the decline of mobs -- Epilogue -- Appendix: Confirmed lynchings and near lynchings.
general note
Based on the author's Ph.D. thesis, University of Iowa, 1968.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Michael J. Pfeifer is a professor of American history at Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-02-01:
In recent years, studies of lynching have documented the tragedy of the practice, the racial aspects of such mob violence, and the politics of anti-lynching crusades, often concentrating on the southern US. This short monograph argues for a different understanding. Less concerned with retelling the gruesome stories of lynchings that took place in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Pfeifer (Evergreen State College) uses national evidence to establish a larger context in which the presence and then decline of lynching is seen against the transformation of justice and the development of legal processes for administration of the death penalty. For the author, the "rough justice" of lynching gives way to "death penalty justice" of the 20th century. The reasons for such a transformation have to do with the imposition of middle class and urban legal norms. Led by the Northeast--the region least affected by lynching--the transformation subsequently occurred in the Midwest, Northwest, and South. Based particularly on court records from Louisiana, New York, Iowa, Washington, and Wyoming and a wide reading in the secondary literature, this book represents an important contribution to both social and legal history. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. T. F. Armstrong Tennessee Wesleyan College
Review Quotes
"A landmark contribution to the literature on American violence and lynching in particular. Pfeifer skillfully weaves together a complex portrait of lynching that takes into account regional variations even while it identifies an ongoing national debate about the appropriateness of "rough" and formal justice in a democratic society. No extant book on the subject even attempts what this one so deftly accomplishes."-- W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author ofLynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930"There is much to admire in this book, and much that is useful. We have had many studies focused on the South and some on the West, but little work has been done on the Midwest and precious little comparing regions. This comparative project is exciting and very welcome."-- Christopher Waldrep, author ofThe Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2005
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Main Description
In this first national, cross-regional study of lynching and criminal justice, Michael J. Pfeifer investigates the pervasive and persistent commitment to "rough justice" that characterized rural and working class areas of most of the United States in the late nineteenth century.Defining rough justice as the harsh, informal, and often communal punishment of perceived criminal behavior, Pfeifer examines the influence of race, gender, and class on understandings of criminal justice and shows how they varied across regions. He argues that lynching only ended when "rough justice" enthusiasts compromised with middle-class advocates of due process by revamping the death penalty into an efficient, technocratic, and highly racialized mechanism of retributive justice.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Mobs across Time and Space: The Chronology and Geography of Lynchingp. 13
The Making of Mobs: The Social Relations of Lynchersp. 38
Judge Lynch and the Color Line: Mobs and Racep. 67
Rough Justice and the Revolt against Due Process: Lynching as Cultural Conflictp. 94
Judge Lynch's Demise: Legal and Cultural Change and the Decline of Mobsp. 122
Epiloguep. 149
Confirmed Lynchings and Near Lynchings, 1874-1947p. 155
Notesp. 185
Bibliographyp. 227
Indexp. 241
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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