Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From flintlock to ‘tramps' terror’: Guns and gun control in nineteenth-century New York City
by Wakin, Eric Thomas, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2009, 233; 3374210
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the relationship between handguns and people in nineteenth-century New York City. From the early 1800s to the 1870s, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers transformed firearms from expensive artisanal items to mass-produced commodities. Alexander Hamilton's English dueling flintlock was a far cry from the 1870s three-dollar "tramps' terror" pistol.

Inventors and entrepreneurs in the Connecticut River Valley developed and applied mass production techniques to gun manufacturing. Wholesale and retail distribution networks centered in New York City (where murders by knife usually exceeded those by gun) sold them. New Yorkers bought guns in greater numbers for self defense and assault. City and state governments responded, slowly, with laws aimed at controlling concealed weapons.

Chapter One examines the changes in production that led to the mass-produced handgun as a commodity. Chapter Two looks at marketing guns in the metropolis. Chapter Three presents several examples of gun use by rioters and the police. Chapter Four describes how guns became "concealed weapons" and were eventually regulated by the city's first handgun ordinance in 1878.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jackson, Kenneth T.
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American history, Criminology
Keywords: Colt, Firearm, Gun control, Murder, New York City, Nineteenth century, Police, Riot, Self-defense
Publication Number: 3374210
ISBN: 9781109346152
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