Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Riots: Behavioral Aspects - A Brief History Of Rioting In America, Types Of Riots, Precipating Incidents And Underlying Conditions

Riots: Behavioral Aspects - A Brief History Of Rioting In America

century war violence police

Rioting has played a key role throughout American history. The American republic, for example, was born of rioting, with the Stamp Act riots, the Boston Tea Party, and the Boston Massacre paving the way for revolution against British rule. Political violence continued after independence, most notably in the form of election riots that occurred in Philadelphia (1834) and Baltimore (1856), followed by a series of disturbances regarding the legal status of slavery, such as those that took place in "bleeding" Kansas (1854–1861). During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, riots took on an economic dimension as worker efforts to organize labor unions led to skirmishes between strikers and company security forces, with violence enveloping entire towns such as Homestead, Pennsylvania (1892), Pullman, Illinois (1894), and Mattawan, West Virginia (1920). (For a more comprehensive historical overview of collective violence in America see Hofstadter and Wallace.)

During the twentieth century, the most common form of rioting in America involved members of different racial and ethnic groups contending for political power, economic resources, and social status. Race riots, as such, accompanied rapid demographic and social changes generated by waves of internal and international migration. Such riots took place in nineteenth-century New England, reflecting antagonism between those of English ancestry and recent Irish immigrants. Riots broke out in the North during the Civil War in which Irish laborers attacked newly emancipated blacks, and again during World War I and World War II when mostly foreign-born and second-generation white ethnics clashed with black migrants from the rural South. After World War II, whites began to move from cities to suburbs, leaving blacks increasingly segregated yet underrepresented on police forces and governance councils. Rising black militancy, combined with incidents of police brutality, sparked conflicts between urban residents and police forces throughout the 1960s. By the last two decades of the century, a new "multicultural" form of violence had emerged, with tensions developing among whites, African Americans, and recent immigrants, predominantly from Latin America and the Pacific Rim. These antagonisms, combined with continuing incidents of police brutality, gave rise to major riots in gateway cities such as Miami (1980) and Los Angeles (1992).

Riots: Behavioral Aspects - Types Of Riots [next]

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or