American Mobbing, 1828-1861: Toward Civil War

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Oxford University Press, Sep 25, 2003 - History - 372 pages
4 Reviews
American Mobbing, 1828-1861: Toward Civil War is a comprehensive history of mob violence related to sectional issues in antebellum America. David Grimsted argues that, though the issue of slavery provoked riots in both the North and the South, the riots produced two different reactions from authorities. In the South, riots against suspected abolitionists and slave insurrectionists were widely tolerated as a means of quelling anti-slavery sentiment. In the North, both pro-slavery riots attacking abolitionists and anti-slavery riots in support of fugitive slaves provoked reluctant but often effective riot suppression. Hundreds died in riots in both regions, but in the North, most deaths were caused by authorities, while in the South more than 90 percent of deaths were caused by the mobs themselves.
These two divergent systems of violence led to two distinct public responses. In the South, widespread rioting quelled public and private questioning of slavery; in the North, the milder, more controlled riots generally encouraged sympathy for the anti-slavery movement. Grimsted demonstrates that in these two distinct reactions to mob violence, we can see major origins of the social split that infiltrated politics and political rioting and that ultimately led to the Civil War.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

Though sometimes bogging down in anecdotal detail, this account of public group violence in Antebellum America comes together in Grimsted's account of "Bleeding" Kansas. This is where the author ... Read full review

Review: American Mobbing, 1828-1861: Toward Civil War

User Review  - Tom Darrow - Goodreads

A new twist on a topic covered in many other sources. Grimsted takes a social history view on the events leading up to the Civil War. Instead of discussing conpromises in congress and elections, he ... Read full review

Selected pages


1835 Year of Violent Indecision
Riots Hatching Resistance Against Abolitionists and in Aid of Fugitive Slaves
The Peculiar Institution of Southern Violence
White Fears Silencing Questions
Black Fears Mastering Dark Realities
Times That Tried Mens Bodies The Manly Sport of American Politics
The Mobs of the Second Party System
Trying to Forget Slavery Nativism and New Riots
Bleeding Majoritarianism The Sectional Mob Systems Meet Mingle and Mangle
Vintage Violence

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Page vii - A fig for those by law protected ! Liberty's a glorious feast ! Courts for cowards were erected, Churches built to please the priest.

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About the author (2003)

Grimsted is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland.

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