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The Public CityThe Political Construction of Urban Life in San Francisco, 1850-1900$
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Philip Ethington

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520230019

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520230019.001.0001

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Republican terror: The origins of the Vigilante movements of 1851 and 1856

Republican terror: The origins of the Vigilante movements of 1851 and 1856

Chapter:
(p.86) Chapter 2 Republican terror: The origins of the Vigilante movements of 1851 and 1856
Source:
The Public City
Author(s):

PHILIP J. ETHINGTON

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520230019.003.0003

This chapter re-examines the vexed questions concerning the origins of the infamous Vigilance Committees of 1851 and 1856 in San Francisco, California. It explains that these events have often been interpreted as the surface manifestation of deep social processes, and attempts to place these events in the logic of republican–liberal political culture and in the visible actions of men in the contested public sphere. The chapter argues that these famous political organizations had political origins, not social ones.

Keywords:   Vigilance Committees, San Francisco, California, social processes, political culture, contested public sphere, political origins

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