American Violence; A Documentary History,
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At a time of unprecedented concern over American violence the value of a documentary reader on the history of our domestic violence needs little explanation. No doubt it will be most useful if the least extravagant claims are made for it, and if its role as a sampler and an introduction to a complex major problem is made entirely clear.
in the presence of his family, deaf to the entreaties of the wife and mother, these cold-blooded assassins of the son, murdered the father also. A poor old man, Mingo Green, very old and so decrepit that he was compelled to support his steps with a cane, a local exhorter of some note, chanced to meet a party of these patrols, and was put to death, and left lying in the road with the top of his head cut smooth off, or, as the witness expressed it, “the whole inside of his head showed white like a
failures were swept under the rug): the classic radical Whig conviction that a standing army, along with the potential Caesars and Cromwells who command it, is one of the greatest dangers to free government, while an armed populace is one of freedom’s primary safeguards. It is this political doctrine that was embodied in the Second Amendment, with its injunction that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms not be infringed”—though the Second Amendment also made it clear that this right was
as, not having had the opportunity of consumating his design, no adequate punishment could have been inflicted on him. Consequently it was determined to take him into the woods and Lynch him—which is a mode of punishment provided for such as become obnoxious in a manner which the law cannot reach. He was immediately carried out under a guard, attended by a crowd of respectable citizens—tied to a tree, punished with stripes—tarred and feathered; and ordered to leave the city in forty-eight hours.…
Allen in the neighborhood, it was arranged that Mr. McDowell, of Mormon Island, well known at the the house, should proceed there, make observations and return. They did not wait for him, however, but soon after rode up to the door, when the sheriff demanded of Allen that he and the others should surrender themselves. They refused to do this, and immediately several shots were fired, mortally wounding Mr. McKinney. He expired in a few moments. Meanwhile, several of those with him had entered the
command. I immediately sent Lieutenant Joyce with a few men to search the house. The search was fruitless, the men having escaped to the rear. I then told the women in the house that the artillery would open on the house, if any more shots were fired from it. We then marched down Twenty-second Street, between Second and Third Avenues, found the body of a sergeant of Davis’ Cavalry, who had been killed two hours before. I ordered a livery-stable keeper to put his horses to a carriage, and