The United States of Lyncherdom
"The United States of Lyncherdom" is an essay by Mark Twain written in 1901. He was prompted to write it after the lynchings of Will Godley, his grandfather French Godley, and Eugene Carter (aka Barrett). They were accused in the rape and murder of Gazelle Wild (or Casselle Wilds) on August 19, 1901, in Pierce City, Missouri, located in Twain's home state. The work blames lynching in the United States on the herd mentality that prevails among Americans. Twain decided that the country was not ready for the essay, and shelved it. A redacted version was finally published in 1923, when Twain's literary executor, Albert Bigelow Paine, slipped it into a posthumous collection, Europe and Elsewhere.
Twain mentions two law enforcement officials who had recently stopped lynchings. One was Sheriff Joseph Merrill of Carroll County, Georgia, and the other was Thomas Beloat of Gibson County, Indiana.
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