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Vigilante and vigilantism are terms most commonly associated with the American West. The term vigilante was coined from the “Committees of Vigilance” that were active in the western United States in the days following the California Gold Rush. The story is that vigilantism began in California in 1851, when the discovery of gold attracted a large population of miners eager to make their fortunes and many outlaws that were just as eager to steal theirs. The law in the area was unable to handle the crime so the citizens began taking the law into their own hands. However, while it is romantic to believe that vigilantism was a moral man's way of maintaining order in society, the truth is that vigilantism has existed for as ...

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