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Men of MobtownPolicing Baltimore in the Age of Slavery and Emancipation$
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Adam Malka

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469636290

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469636290.001.0001

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Rioters and Vigilantes

Rioters and Vigilantes

(p.19) Chapter One Rioters and Vigilantes
Men of Mobtown

Adam Malka

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter presents an overview of the system of policing that existed in Baltimore during the early decades of the nineteenth century – before the city’s organization of a professional police force and the state’s introduction of a reformative penal system. It argues that Baltimore’s municipal government initially depended upon mobs of ordinary white men to police the city. Occasionally these men earned money for their policing, blurring the line between formal policing and vigilantism; occasionally these men ran amok, leading to riots. Whatever the case, by attempting to maintain order and combating crime, “good citizens” enacted their freedom in an otherwise unfree world. In early Baltimore, policing was above all a practice by which white men affirmed their political inclusion.

Keywords:   Policing, Baltimore, Mobs, White Men, Vigilantism, Riots, Order, Crime, Citizen, Freedom

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