Manfred Berg

Lynchjustiz in den USA

[Popular Justice: A History of Lynching in America]

274 pages, 13 illustrations
ISBN 978-3-86854-273-8
March 2014

About the Book

Lynch law is to, to this day, linked to racism, terror, and violence, as well as to the infamous Ku-Klux-Klan and the American South. In the course of US history, more tens of thousands lost their lives as victims of lynching. In the name of "justice", "people's self-defense, and the "primacy of the white race", people were tarred and feathered, tortured, hanged, or burned to death.

More or less organized groups, who claimed they were acting in the name of local communities and a higher form of justice, punished purported criminals. Manfred Berg tells the story of lynch law from its beginnings in the colonial era and during the American Revolution up until the present day. He pays special attention to racist lynching practices against African-Americans but also reminds readers of other, long-forgotten groups of victims such as people of Mexican and Chinese origin.

Further sections of Berg's book are devoted to resistance against lynch law and to an examination of why lynching ended in the mid-twentieth century. Also addressed is the question of the heritage of lynching in contemporary American culture. This incisive account offers intriguing answers to highly significant questions. Why is acceptance of the state's monopoly on the use of force comparatively low in the US? Why is the criminal justice system in the US the most draconian among Western societies? What continuities can be discerned between lynching and the death penalty?

Author / Editor

Manfred Berg

Curt Engelhorn Professor for American History, History Department and Heidelberg Center for American Studies, University of Heidelberg. Berg's areas of work are the history of African-Americans and other ethnic groups in the US, racism, violence, transnational history, and the history of religion.



Saarbrücken, Politische Akademie der Stiftung Demokratie Saarland, 5 October 2016

Manfred Berg: Lynchjustiz in den USA

Short description

Visuals & Audio

Original Popular Justice. A History of Lynching in America: Ivan R. Dee Publisher, Chicago