Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Riots/Demonstrations (Response To)
Riots and demonstrations, although sporadic, have been a constant throughout American history. Not surprisingly, local and state authorities, and even the federal government, have struggled repeatedly to suppress these forms of popular unrest. Perhaps the earliest response to riots and demonstrations involved the military. In 1794, George Washington mobilized an army of approximately 13,000—as large as the one that had defeated the British—to suppress violent demonstrations by Pennsylvania farmers angered at heightened federal excise taxes on whiskey. When confronted with this overwhelming military force, dissent dwindled, thereby establishing the military as an effective riot-suppression tool, one that would be used again and again throughout American history. Although the use of the military to quell riots continued into the 20th century, the general burden of responding to riots and demonstrations shifted gradually to local police departments. The first police training in riot control occurred in the aftermath of the Astor Place ...