Chapter

Republican terror: The origins of the Vigilante movements of 1851 and 1856

PHILIP J. ETHINGTON

in The Public City

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780520230019
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520230019.003.0003
Republican terror: The origins of the Vigilante movements of 1851 and 1856

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This chapter re-examines the vexed questions concerning the origins of the infamous Vigilance Committees of 1851 and 1856 in San Francisco, California. It explains that these events have often been interpreted as the surface manifestation of deep social processes, and attempts to place these events in the logic of republican–liberal political culture and in the visible actions of men in the contested public sphere. The chapter argues that these famous political organizations had political origins, not social ones.

Keywords: Vigilance Committees; San Francisco; California; social processes; political culture; contested public sphere; political origins

Chapter.  16823 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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