American violence is schizophrenic. On the one hand, many Americans support the creation of a powerful bureaucracy of coercion made up of police and military forces in order to provide public security. At the same time, many of those citizens also demand the private right to protect their own families, home, and property. This book diagnoses this schizophrenia as a product of a distinctive institutional history, in which private forms of violence - vigilantes, private detectives, mercenary gunfighters - emerged in concert with the creation of new public and state forms of violence such as police departments or the National Guard. This dual public and private face of American violence resulted from the upending of a tradition of republican governance, in which public security had been indistinguishable from private effort, by the nineteenth-century social transformations of the Civil War and the Market Revolution.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.06(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.67(d)|
About the Author
Jonathan Obert is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Amherst College, where he has taught since 2014. He has published articles on violence, organizational change, and state formation in the US at Law & Social Inquiry, Perspectives on Politics, Studies in American Political Development, and the Journal of Policy History, among others.
Table of Contents1. Introduction; 2. Jurisdictional decoupling as institutional change; 3. Bandits, elites, and vigilantes in antebellum Illinois; 4. Pinkertons and police in antebellum Chicago; 5. Racist vigilantism as reform in reconstruction Louisiana; 6. The violent careers of American gunfighters; 7. Conclusion; Index.