The Role of Tarring and Feathering in TodayТs Society
Feb 23, †Ј Tarring and feathering was a form of punishment that involved stripping a victim and covering them with hot tar and feathers. Hot tar was used during the punishment of tarring and feathering, and its use had the potential to cause significant burns and infections. Tarring and Feathering The practice of applying hot tar and a coating of feathers to one's opponents was largely an American practice. The intent was clearly to intimidate. Dabbing hot tar on bare skin could cause painful blistering and efforts to remove it usually resulted in pulling out hairs.
In the U. However, the practice actually began far earlier in Europe, and was first documented in an proclamation from Richard the Lionheart for punishing any thieves discovered on his crusading sea vessels:.
Unlike the petroleum-based tar that we now use for paving roads, the sticky stuff used for tarring and feathering unlucky truants for hundreds of years has usually been either pine tar derived from the wood of pine trees, as the name suggests or pitch, which traditionally was the name for resin and only later got attached to petroleum products.
Wood tar was first used for waterproofing wooden ships and structures in ancient Greece, and Northern Europeans began refining birch bark in the Neolithic.
For the most part, artificial sealants replaced natural wood tar and pitch in the 20th century, but petroleum sealants are very tough viscoelastic polymers in their own right and take a long time to change shape. While pine tar and pitch have lower melting points than petroleum tar, being painted with their melted forms could still be very painful, leading to blistering burns and stripping the skin off when it came time to peel the tar away.
Centuries after Richard ordered the punishment for oceangoing robbers, it was being used throughout Europe for social indiscretions. Historian Benjamin H. Americans got in on the act as well. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, endured his own tar and feather attack inpossibly after an aborted attempt to castrate himЧthe result, according to different accounts, of community animosity over either his sexual activity, his attempts to take away community property, or a combination thereof.
Smith remembered what are the benefits of protein supplements. I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men [ Tarring and feathering also became a form of political retaliation for the poorer classes a few centuries ago. By the 19th century, the practice had spread well inland in the U. Starting in antebellum days and continuing beyond the civil rights era, many African Americans and civil rights activists were tarred and feathered.
Tar and feathering has persevered into the 21st century in the area. Ina Belfast man was trussed by two others, thought to be UDA members, for allegedly dealing drugs in the community. The occasional case of responding to supposed sexual impropriety with tar and feathers has cropped up in recent decades in the U. While her how to recover the windows 7 administrator password may have had a long historical precedent, she was still convicted.
However, the practice actually began far earlier in How to get to mewtwo, and was first documented in an proclamation from Richard the Lionheart for punishing any thieves discovered on his crusading sea vessels: [He] shall be first shaved, then boiling pitch shall be poured upon his head, and a cushion of feathers shook over it so that he may be publicly known; and at the first land where the ships put in he shall be cast on shore.
Smith rememberedI found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men [ Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Jan 12, †Ј Tarring and feathering was an act developed to serve one primary purpose: to humiliate and harm a person enough to force them into a position of conformity. Ultimately designed as a tool to scorn or shame those people with whom a person disagrees with. Tarring and feathering was successfully used as a weapon against the Townshend Duties (including the tea tax which led to the Boston Tea Party). In Parliament they hotly debated how best to punish the Bostonians. one member argued that "Americans were a strange set of people, and that it was in vain to expect any degree of reasoning from them; that instead of making their claim by argument, they . Dec 13, †Ј JL also wrote that the primary purpose of tar and feathering was imposed humiliation, not physical injury. УNakednessФ and УNudityФ in the colonial era were slightly different concepts than now. Puritan-descended dress code asserted that a Уman in his shirtsleeves is only half dressedФ.Author: J. L. Bell.
Pine tar could be hot enough to injure someone. The Loyalist judge Peter Oliver complained that when a mob attacked Dr. Rioters probably applied the tar with a mop or brush, lowering its temperature.
Sometimes they tarred people more gently over their clothing. The most vicious tar-and-feathers attack in Revolutionary America was carried out on a Comptroller for the Customs Service named John Malcolm in Boston on 25 January Tarring and feathering undoubtedly caused pain and a lot of discomfort and inconvenience.
But above all it was supposed to be embarrassing for the victim. Mobs performed the act in public as a humiliation and a warningЧto the victim and anyone elseЧnot to arouse the community again. There are no examples of people in Revolutionary America dying from being tarred and feathered.
Some incidents of tar and feathers in pre-Revolutionary Boston became notorious emblems of American violence. But the first example of such an assault in pre-Revolutionary America took place in the port of Norfolk, Virginia, in March The rioters had accused Smith of informing a royal official about a smuggler, though he denied that.
As the historian Ben Irvin found in a thorough survey of Revolutionary tarring and feathering, [vii] the next documented examples occurred in Salem and Newburyport, Massachusetts, in the summer of Newspapers reporting these incidents described the process of tarring and feathering in detail, indicating that readers were not yet familiar with it.
When the punishment came to Boston, it appears that the first instigators were mariners from out of town. On 28 October a mob grabbed the sailor George Gailer, who had recently worked on the Customs patrol ship Liberty confiscated the year before from John Hancock.
The first three defendants were from Newport, Rhode Island, followed by three local men and a minor. A clear pattern emerges in reports of those early attacks: waterfront crowds tarred and feathered men who had busted smuggling operations.
The punishment appears to have been a traditional form of maritime mobbing. There are scattered examples earlier in English law and history going back centuries. Once the Townshend duties of made smuggling and anti-smuggling the focus of the dispute between colonists and the London government, that gave tar and feathers political meaning.
In the London government appointed five Commissioners of the Customs for North America and put their headquarters in Boston. At different times mobs surrounded their houses or chased them across the countryside.
But none of those men were ever tarred and feathered. Nor were their high-level deputies, such as the collectors and inspectors. Nor were other royal appointees like governors, judges, sheriffs, or justices of the peace. Instead, pre-Revolutionary crowds reserved tar and feathers mainly for working-class Customs employees and other common men: tide-waiters and land-waiters, sailors on Customs ships, informers, and laborers who supported the Crown.
British colonists lived in a deferential society in which everyone expected gentlemen to receive gentler treatment than the mass of ordinary men. Men placed him in a cart beside a barrel of tar. We see this in the exchange that led up to the attack on John Malcolm in January And then Malcolm clubbed Hewes on the head. As the Revolutionary War drew closer, class deference crumbled a little. In September a crowd in East Haddam, Connecticut, tarred and otherwise abused the physician and mill owner Abner Beebe.
Liberty Poles were flagpoles displaying the British Union flag. In a contingent of soldiers stationed in New York pulled down such a flagpole outside a tavern popular with local Whigs, evidently angered by their claim to superior patriotism. The locals erected a taller pole. The two sides also brawled, of course.
But those poles displayed flags, not tar and feathers. A tar barrel did appear beside a pole in Williamsburg, Virginia, in November American culture came to associate tar and feathers with the Revolutionary period, but that simply lent the violent punishment a patriotic cachet when crowds revived it during other conflicts. And they did. In ante-bellum America, mobs tarred and feathered several people who spoke against slavery and threatened prominent abolitionists with the same treatment.
When the U. Those riots spilled over into assaults on labor organizers, especially the anti-war Industrial Workers of the World, and on civil-rights activists. In a branch of the K. Martin Luther King. Schutz, editors San Marino, Cal. Kinvin Roth and Hiller B. Zobel, editors Cambridge, Mass.
Alfred F. Neil R. Interesting subject matter, these tales of tar and feathers. The actions in Summer of seem to be almost coordinated. At least in the southern states. As the Committees of Safety and the Secret Committee took control of the civil governments in the South Carolina and Georgia, the Loyalist response was, quite naturally, to organize their own form of resistance. The Patriots stopped their actions quickly and firmly by providing examples of Tar and Feathers in Charleston, Savannah, and then Augusta.
Chased a couple of other Loyalists back to England with threats of the same treatment. These three occurrences were right around the end of July Do you know of any concerted plan throughout the colonies at that time to dress a few Tories in tar and feathers in each place just as an example? I know of no evidence for a concerted plan across multiple colonies to tar and feather Loyalists in the summer of , and the one authority that was trying to coordinate effortsЧthe Continental CongressЧwas also trying to tamp down riots and present the most respectable face to the world.
Groups could decide individually whether to do it. And when any group feels under attack and in need of cohesion, as when a war has begun, they start to demand conformity from dissenters. I completely agree with J. Bell about publicity feeding ideas and ritual to other colonies. The same thing happened a decade earlier with the widespread news of Stamp Act riots and stamp officer intimidation, which seemed to take on similar traits in towns up and down the continent.
In my research for Reporting the Revolutionary War , I often thought newspapers served as the inter-colonial instruction manuals for Revolution. An enjoyable, interesting and informative article. Fascinating details provided, and as almost always Ч real life is more diluted and fluid than a simplistic notion.
Thanks J. Fascinating and a needed correction. I just read a popular history book that myth 1 to be true, and I pictured in my mind black hot tar being poured on the bodies. Makes me wonder sometimes how much serious research is done for some of these books. My favorite euphemism for tarring and feathering comes from Arthur Middleton, at the time a member of the Council of Safety in South Carolina later a delegate to Congress and signer of the Declaration. I wonder if the author of this article would volunteer himself to be tared and feathered?
Since it is so benign. I think that it is difficult to see the history truthfully when I am not able to see acts of our forefathers as mob terrorism versus persecuted patriots. Should this be called historical bias? Indeed, he describes in great detail injuries suffered by some of the most documented cases. History has to be understood as it was. Not in terms of what we believe now to be right, wrong, or improper. And, in the interest of understanding how it was, one must understand this was the first time a society underwent such a change.
Mao and others have issued well developed playbooks for Revolution since then, but these people had to do it on the fly, from scratch. With only the ideas of Natural Rights, and without a long history other than from the colonial frontier of exercising them, more developed in the personal application than the group. And, I might add, emerging with considerably less carnage than those others. The British were quite as responsible for generating anti-Loyalist sentiment as the most vociferous rebel ever was.
Do not forget the harshness by which they were treated in comparison by the British Army, Navy, and Partisans. Some 11, prisoners died from disease and starvation aboard British prison ships over the course of the Revolution. I am a descendant from two distinctly different types of Colonials in the Carolinas at the time. One firmly supported and fought with distinction from the beginning.
The other branch were pacifists, determined to stay out of fighting. That is until the British let them know that any claiming neutral status were in fact to be treated as rebels. Then they started burning their barns and homes. There has been much discussion about the method of tarring and feathering with the release of the miniseries John Adams by HBO. I read somewhere that people were stripped down to their waist yet HBO showed them stripping the victim completely naked.
Was this just HBO doing their normal female chauvinistic degradation of men by showing their genitals or was this truly done nude? HBO is now selling the miniseries to our schools so our children will be seeing it. Many people were complaining that the nudity was unnecessary and made the series historically incorrect.
Knowing about their resident female chauvinist in charge, Sheila Nevins, it would not surprise me with HBO. This is a silly misogynistic grumble from someone obsessed with Sheila Nevins.
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