Encyclopedia > Lynching

  Article Content


Lynching is murder (especially by hanging) conceived by its perpetrators as extra-legal execution.

Victims of lynching have generally been members of groups marginalized by society, for example, African Americans in the USA in the period before the civil rights reforms of the 1960s.

Lynching was named for Col. Charles Lynch[?] who used the practice durring the American Revolutionary War to deal with torries and criminal elements. Unfortunately, after the war, as the nation expanded so did the practice of lynching. The rule of lynching as a method to maintain the social order was referred to as lynch law[?].

Before the American Civil War, lynching was used primarily on civil rights supporters, horse theives, gamblers and various rogues. However by the 1880s, lynching expanded to non-grata groups such as blacks, jews, native Americans and Asian immigrants.

There were often two components to motivation for a lynching. First was the social aspect - righting some social wrong or perceived social wrong (such as a violation of Jim Crow etiquette). Second was the economic aspect. For example, upon successful lynching of a black farmer or immigrant merchant, the land would be available and the market opened for white farmers.

Lynchings, like other public executions throughout history, were sometimes treated as a spectacle - even a form of family entertainment.


All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

... limits on freedom of thought and religion similar to Canadian limitations(art. 9(2) ECHR: subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and ...

This page was created in 30.8 ms