The san francisco committee of vigilance was a vigilante group formed in 1851 the catalyst for its formation was the criminality of the sydney ducks it was revived in 1856 in response to rampant crime and corruption in the municipal government of san francisco californiathe need for extralegal intervention was apparent with the explosive population growth following the discovery of gold in . The committee of vigilance of san francisco was an organization formed by citizens to administer justice operating separately from the government the first committee was formed in 1851 to protect the citizens of san francisco from the organized band of villains who are determined to destroy the city as a newspaper of the time claimed. Each committee of vigilance formally relinquished power after it decided the city had been cleaned up 1851 vigilantes californias gold rush transformed the small spanish settlement of san francisco into a boom town as thousands of men flocked to california to make their fortunes the town grew from just about 800 residents in 1848 . Next to 1848 when gold was discovered in california 1856 was perhaps the most exciting year of the era by reason of the flood of crime into the city and brought about the organization of the famous committee of vigilance of that year a form of direct action which attracted the attention of the world to a new style of summary justice the result of extraordinary conditions in san francisco. The 1851 committee of vigilance the impromptu vigilance committee wasted no time and the execution took place in the plaza the same night at 2 am this prompt action had its effect on the criminal class and for a while they remained under cover san francisco news letter
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