BookReviews lynching--among them, that the practice was almost entirely an instrument of racist oppression against blacks dating from Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era, that slaves were seldom killed or "lynched" because they were valuable property, or that African Americans rarely resisted lynching. Documented tales of lynchings, according to Waldrep's study, reach back at least to the Revolutionary War era when mobs attacked Tories. A nation based on the principle that the laws derived from the people included many who believed that the people could take the law back into their own hands any time they wanted to. Some historical figures emerge from this collection of documents severely tarnished. Andrew Jackson was an unabashed lyncher, as revealed in his own letters and in reports about his unceremonious 1818 hanging of two "hostile" Indian chiefs without trial and his brisk court martial and hanging of two British subjects who had aided and led Indians in war against Americans. Abraham Lincoln, however, survives as a champion of constitutionalism against vigilantism in an 1838 speech in which, writing about mob violence against abolitionists, he reminds his audience that, if laws are violated and mobs allowed to run amuck, in time no
Southwestern Historical Quarterly – Texas State Historical Association
Published: Mar 28, 2007
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