Execution of a presumed offender by a mob without trial, under the pretense of administering justice. It sometimes involves torturing the victim and mutilating the body. Lynching has often occurred under unsettled social conditions. The term derives from the name of Charles Lynch, a Virginian who headed an irregular court to persecute loyalists during the American Revolution. In the United States, lynching was widely used in the post-Reconstruction South against blacks, often to intimidate other blacks from exercising their civil rights.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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