Vigilante justice, you say the word a couple of times and the idea of lynching quickly crowd your mind. What do I mean? Lynching is the act of torturing and executing suspected offenders without subjecting them to the trial process. In other words, a mob or a group of people takes the law in their own hands and prosecute perpetrators.
The mob therefore, acts like the jury, prosecutor, judge and executioner (Zangrando, 1997). This practice was coined by Charles Lynch (a famous vigilante) in the times of American Revolution. Lynch took advantage of his position in power to harshly convict suspected wrongdoers. In the U.S, the idea of lynching was famous in times of the civil war when numerous black citizens were lynched.
It is possible that lynching was common in some areas of the United States well into the 20tth century. Lynching was influenced by the social conflicts in the country. It was considered as an alternate to complete law. According to Gibson (2013), in the 19th century, it was used to refer to hanging. In some areas, lynching was at high at the start of the 20th century.
The discrimination of African Americans was at the heart of these issues. At that time, African American were discriminated and disfranchised, and so were the poor white people. Despite these activities reducing tremendously, some areas still experienced instances of lynching. It is evident that cases of discrimination against the the poor white people and racism against blacks was still present in the thinking of the residents in these parts of the United States. Normally people would be lynched by tiny groups of white vigilantes and often done in the wee hours of the night.
In conclusion, lynching came about due to the social aspect of different people and their economic situations. Eventually, the blacks staged a huge resistance and laws were enacted to stop lynching in mid to late 20th century (Gibson, 2013).