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Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 3 “Violence in Other Times and Places”

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Presentation on theme: "Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 3 “Violence in Other Times and Places”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 3 “Violence in Other Times and Places”

2 OUTLINE Difficulties in Studying Historical Violence
White-Native American Warfare Slavery, African-Americans, and Violence Social Banditry Prohibition Violence in Other Places

3 Difficulties in Studying Historical Violence
Many myths and outright fabrications Much information about violence in the U.S. prior to the 20th century is fragmentary and unreliable (e.g., poor records). Violence has been the instrument not merely of the criminal, but also of the honorable (e.g., American Revolution; dueling; feuding). Q: Do the ends justify the means?

4 White-Native American Warfare
The “Trail of Tears” Cherokees negotiated a peace treaty granting land in parts of Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Gold deposits were discovered on tribal lands. Georgia legislature outlawed the Cherokee government and confiscated their land. President Jackson used the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to forcibly remove the Cherokees from their land. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Georgia legislation was unconstitutional, but federal authorities ignored the decision. Federal troops forcibly evicted the Cherokees. About 18-20,000 people were force-marched 800 miles to “Indian Territory.” About 4,000 perished from hunger, disease, and exposure.

5 Slavery, African-Americans, and Violence
Slavery was closely tied to the Southern economy, particularly tobacco and cotton. Initially, indentured servitude was used. Over the years practice became custom, and custom became law. In 1664, Maryland law stated all “Negroes” were to be slaves for life and the children of all female slaves were also to be slaves. But: it was difficult to justify the obvious inequality represented by slavery. Only one revolt by slaves came to fruition, the Nat Turner Rebellion (1831). Southern legislatures used white fear generated by the revolt to impose even greater restrictions on slaves.

6 Slavery, African-Americans, and Violence (cont.)
Conflicts over slavery led to the U.S. Civil War. Of the 2,500,000 who served in the Southern or Northern armies, 620,000 men (1 in 4) died. In spite of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and victory of the North (1865), discrimination remained due to legalized segregation and discrimination (e.g., deprivation of voting rights). More than 3,700 lynchings occurred between 1889 and 1930; over 80% occurred in the South.

7 Social Banditry (late 1800s)
After the Civil War: There was enormous industrial growth in the U.S. But: few grew wealthy; many were left in poverty. Gangs organized for the purpose of robbery. Many Americans saw outlaws as romantic figures, heroes who “fight and die for the things that made America great.” Q: Was this violence for the sake of violence? Or were they “rebels” against power and wealth?

8 Prohibition The 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the sale, manufacture, distribution, and importing of intoxicating liquors in the U.S. Effective in 1920; repealed in 1933. Prohibition produced a switch from low-potency drinks (beer) to distilled spirits: easier to transport, and less likely to spoil. Consequences of Prohibition (?) encouraged disrespect for the law increased consumption of distilled spirits increased the risk of consuming toxic substances corrupted law enforcement increased organized crime

9 Q: What lessons does history teach us about violence?
There have been occasions in history when many people felt that the “ends justified the means.” (e.g., American Revolution, Civil War). The least powerful have often been the targets of violence (e.g., women, children, minorities). Violence has frequently been used for economic gain (e.g., slavery, prohibition-era gangsters, Trail of Tears). While we generally condemn violence against others, violence is sometimes admired (e.g., outlaws of Wild West, media coverage of gangsters). Increased exposure to violence may have increased our “desensitization” to violence over time.

10 Violence in Other Places
The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) has collected and published crime data from national police forces since 1950. In 1974, the United Nations began surveys on officially reported crimes, including homicides, assaults, sex crimes, robberies, and kidnappings. The best-known and most valid source of information on international homicides is the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations. WHO has collected mortality statistics from national health organizations since 1951. Data are available for nations each year.

11 Violence in Other Places (cont.)
Limitations of Cross-National Statistics: Few variables; limited detail: (e.g., no data on whether the homicide involved robbery, domestic conflict, or weapons) Variations in cultural and legal definitions make it difficult to collect this kind of cross-national data. Available data are biased toward more developed countries that have sufficient resources and political stability to develop adequate reporting systems.

12 Violence in Other Places (cont.)
Cross-national data on homicide are more reliable than cross-national data on crimes such as rape, robbery, and assault. There is little doubt that the U.S. is more violent than other developed democratic countries in the latter 20th century (Fig. 3-1). These countries were chosen for comparison because they are economically and socially developed democracies with well-developed statistical reporting systems.


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