Cover image for Boston riots : three centuries of social violence
Title:
Boston riots : three centuries of social violence
Author:
Tager, Jack.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Northeastern University Press, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
xi, 289 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781555534615

9781555534608
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HV6483.B6 T34 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

FROM THE FOOD UPRISINGS in the early 1700s to the notorious antibusing riots in the mid-1970s, incidents of communal social violence have played a significant role in Boston's history. The remarkable story of Boston's violent past is now told for the first time in this thorough exploration of the more than 100 riots that occurred in the city over a span of nearly three centuries. Drawing on exhaustive research in newspaper archives, Jack Tager revisits both well- and lesser-known episodes, including the grain, impressment, brothel, and Pope Day riots of the eighteenth century; the anti-Catholic, abolition, and draft riots of the nineteenth century; and the Kosher meat, police strike, ghetto, and busing riots of the twentieth century. Tager identifies the protagonists, highlights their motives and demands, and seeks to determine whether they realized their goals. He also examines how victims suffered at the hands of their fellow citizens, shows how law enforcement responded to the riots, and considers the complex social interactions and tensions that contributed to the uprisings. He finds that most incidents of violent civil disorder were initiated by the powerless lower classes who


Summary

FROM THE FOOD UPRISINGS in the early 1700s to the notorious antibusing riots in the mid-1970s, incidents of communal social violence have played a significant role in Boston's history. The remarkable story of Boston's violent past is now told for the first time in this thorough exploration of the more than 100 riots that occurred in the city over a span of nearly three centuries. Drawing on exhaustive research in newspaper archives, Jack Tager revisits both well- and lesser-known episodes, including the grain, impressment, brothel, and Pope Day riots of the eighteenth century; the anti-Catholic, abolition, and draft riots of the nineteenth century; and the Kosher meat, police strike, ghetto, and busing riots of the twentieth century. Tager identifies the protagonists, highlights their motives and demands, and seeks to determine whether they realized their goals. He also examines how victims suffered at the hands of their fellow citizens, shows how law enforcement responded to the riots, and considers the complex social interactions and tensions that contributed to the uprisings. He finds that most incidents of violent civil disorder were initiated by the powerless lower classes who


Author Notes

Jack Tager is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Jack Tager is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

Tager, a history professor, explores the collective social violence commonly identified as the Boston riots, from the early food uprisings in the prerevoluntionary colonial era to the antibusing riots in the 1970s. He focuses on the players, motives, expectations, and failures. Generally this study reflects views, interests, and prejudices not often seen in U.S. history: riots over excessive charges for grain, reflecting anticapitalist views; the Pope Day riots, reflecting strong anti-Catholic bias; and abolition and draft riots, reflecting the racial biases of the Civil War era. Tager's final chapters, on the urban riots (1967 and 1968) and the antibusing riots (1974 through 1976), reflect similar responses to hopelessness and despair. Although the impetus for the urban riots duplicated, in many respects, issues that sparked past riots among the lower-class white ethnics, the antibusing riots demonstrated an inability to perceive class interests in lieu of race. Tager avoids judging the various social contexts that sparked the riots but recognizes a societal need to provide creative and productive outlets for the powerless who find violence an effective means to vent. --Vernon Ford


Library Journal Review

From 1700 to 1976, 103 riots ripped Boston, a city where social violence has been endemic. Tager (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) details such acts of communal violence as the food, impressment, and Pope Day riots in the 18th century; the abolition and anti-Irish Catholic riots in the 19th century; and the 1919 Boston police strike, ghetto, and anti-busing riots in the 20th century. Regardless of class background, the rioters, states the author, employed violence to overcome their sense of hopelessness concerning their way of life as well as their powerlessness in the face of the ruling Boston elite. This well-documented, engaging book for both lay readers and specialists challenges the reader to question the meaning of citizenship and democracy whenever the possibility exists for various groups to use mass violence to address perceptions of social injustice. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄCharles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State Coll. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Tager (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) provides a historical survey of the riots and other forms of community-based action in Boston from the Colonial period through the 1970s. To his credit, Tager does not attempt to provide an overall synthesis but uses riots as a lens to examine a number of significant episodes in the city's history, exploring each riot within its historical context. The result is a stimulating portrait of the origins and events surrounding riots over food, taxes, religion, impressment, abolition, police, and busing. Throughout the work, the author explores who participated in riots and the response and historical significance of each riot. Boston emerges as a city ripe with political, class, and cultural conflict, giving credence to Tager's assertion that Governor John Winthrop's "City on a Hill" has been a most "riotous town." Historians interested in crowd actions and their precipitants will find this work an excellent companion to Paul Gilje's pathbreaking works The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834 (CH, Mar'88) and Rioting in America (CH, Oct'96). Academic collections at all levels. T. D. Beal SUNY College at Oneonta


Booklist Review

Tager, a history professor, explores the collective social violence commonly identified as the Boston riots, from the early food uprisings in the prerevoluntionary colonial era to the antibusing riots in the 1970s. He focuses on the players, motives, expectations, and failures. Generally this study reflects views, interests, and prejudices not often seen in U.S. history: riots over excessive charges for grain, reflecting anticapitalist views; the Pope Day riots, reflecting strong anti-Catholic bias; and abolition and draft riots, reflecting the racial biases of the Civil War era. Tager's final chapters, on the urban riots (1967 and 1968) and the antibusing riots (1974 through 1976), reflect similar responses to hopelessness and despair. Although the impetus for the urban riots duplicated, in many respects, issues that sparked past riots among the lower-class white ethnics, the antibusing riots demonstrated an inability to perceive class interests in lieu of race. Tager avoids judging the various social contexts that sparked the riots but recognizes a societal need to provide creative and productive outlets for the powerless who find violence an effective means to vent. --Vernon Ford


Library Journal Review

From 1700 to 1976, 103 riots ripped Boston, a city where social violence has been endemic. Tager (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) details such acts of communal violence as the food, impressment, and Pope Day riots in the 18th century; the abolition and anti-Irish Catholic riots in the 19th century; and the 1919 Boston police strike, ghetto, and anti-busing riots in the 20th century. Regardless of class background, the rioters, states the author, employed violence to overcome their sense of hopelessness concerning their way of life as well as their powerlessness in the face of the ruling Boston elite. This well-documented, engaging book for both lay readers and specialists challenges the reader to question the meaning of citizenship and democracy whenever the possibility exists for various groups to use mass violence to address perceptions of social injustice. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄCharles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State Coll. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Tager (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) provides a historical survey of the riots and other forms of community-based action in Boston from the Colonial period through the 1970s. To his credit, Tager does not attempt to provide an overall synthesis but uses riots as a lens to examine a number of significant episodes in the city's history, exploring each riot within its historical context. The result is a stimulating portrait of the origins and events surrounding riots over food, taxes, religion, impressment, abolition, police, and busing. Throughout the work, the author explores who participated in riots and the response and historical significance of each riot. Boston emerges as a city ripe with political, class, and cultural conflict, giving credence to Tager's assertion that Governor John Winthrop's "City on a Hill" has been a most "riotous town." Historians interested in crowd actions and their precipitants will find this work an excellent companion to Paul Gilje's pathbreaking works The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834 (CH, Mar'88) and Rioting in America (CH, Oct'96). Academic collections at all levels. T. D. Beal SUNY College at Oneonta


Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
1 The Eighteenth-Century Settingp. 13
2 A Variety of Riots: Food, Customs, Antielite, and Pope Day Riotsp. 25
3 The Impressment Riot of 1747p. 52
4 Antebellum Boston: Norm Enforcement, Race, and Abolition Riotsp. 76
5 Anti-Catholic Rioting in Antebellum Boston: The Ursuline Convent and the Broad Street Riotsp. 104
6 Anti-Catholic Tensions, 1850-1900, and the Draft Riot of 1863p. 125
7 The 1919 Police Strike Riotsp. 143
8 Ghetto Riots, 1967-1968p. 171
9 Antibusing Riots, Fall 1974p. 188
10 Antibusing Riots, 1975-1976p. 209
11 Conclusionp. 228
Appendix Chronology of Boston Riotsp. 235
Notesp. 239
Select Bibliographyp. 271
Indexp. 279
Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
1 The Eighteenth-Century Settingp. 13
2 A Variety of Riots: Food, Customs, Antielite, and Pope Day Riotsp. 25
3 The Impressment Riot of 1747p. 52
4 Antebellum Boston: Norm Enforcement, Race, and Abolition Riotsp. 76
5 Anti-Catholic Rioting in Antebellum Boston: The Ursuline Convent and the Broad Street Riotsp. 104
6 Anti-Catholic Tensions, 1850-1900, and the Draft Riot of 1863p. 125
7 The 1919 Police Strike Riotsp. 143
8 Ghetto Riots, 1967-1968p. 171
9 Antibusing Riots, Fall 1974p. 188
10 Antibusing Riots, 1975-1976p. 209
11 Conclusionp. 228
Appendix Chronology of Boston Riotsp. 235
Notesp. 239
Select Bibliographyp. 271
Indexp. 279

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