The Lynch Law: The Lynch Law

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In the last decades of the nineteenth century, the lynching of the Black people in the Southern and border states became an institutionalized method used by whites to terrorize Blacks and maintain white supremacy. In the South, during the period 1880-1940, there was deep-seated and all-pervading hatred and fear of the Negro which led white mobs to turn to “lynch law” as a means of social control. Lynchings, which are open public murders of individuals suspected of crime conceived and carried out more or less spontaneously by a mob, seem to have been an American invention. In Lynch Law, the first scholarly investigation of lynching, which was written in 1905, author James E. Cutler stated that. “Lynching is a criminal practice which is peculiar to the United States.
Most of the lynchings were by hanging or shooting, or both. However many were a more hideous nature- burning at the stake, maiming, dismemberment, castration, and other brutal methods of physical torture. Lynching therefore was a cruel combination of racism and sadism,
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Charles Lynch who was a landowner in Virginia in 1790. Lynch had a habit of holding illegal trials of local lawbreakers in his front yard. Upon conviction of the accused, which was usually the case, Lynch took to whipping the suspects while they were ties to a tree in front of his house. Over time, this practice became known as simply “lynching”. Although the mistreatment of slaves was common throughout the early part of the 19th century, lynching was a separate practice apart from slavery. The term “lynching” refers to only to the concept of vigilantism, in which citizens would assume the role of judge, jury and executioner. Vigilante groups were common during the last half of the 19th century and were fed by a strong notion that the existing laws were not functioning properly resulting in criminals, especially black criminals, being set free at the expense of the
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