Though the heavens fall: The Vigilante movement culture of 1856


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:
Though the heavens fall: The Vigilante movement culture of 1856

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  • History of the Americas


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This chapter examines the movement culture created by the Vigilante Committee of 1856 in San Francisco, California. It explains that for ninety days the Vigilante Executive Committee was able to draw most of the city's voters into an armed paramilitary government which executed political prisoners and adopted the ancient republican practice of ostracism. The chapter discusses the Committee's creation of a local party organization that ruled the city until the end of the Civil War, which had a lasting impact on the political life of the city for many decades.

Keywords: movement culture; Vigilante Committee; San Francisco; California; voters; paramilitary government; political prisoners; ostracism; Civil War; political life

Chapter.  16451 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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