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Courses / Modules / HIST3075 Crime and Punishment in England c.1688-1840 part 1

Crime and Punishment in England c.1688-1840 part 1

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Julie Gammon
Academic year

Module overview

This course will span the period c.1688-c.1840, beginning with the reforms of the criminal code introduced following the Glorious Revolution, known as the ‘Bloody Code’, and concluding in the mid-nineteenth century with the introduction of the police force under Peel and the first acts removing capital punishment from felonies. You will be asked to consider both the nature and incidence of crime and whether historians’ research confirms contemporary perceptions of the lawlessness of society. You will be asked to address whether a poor man’s [and woman’s] system of justice operated in the eighteenth century or whether the criminal law solely acted as the ‘ideology’ of the ruling classes. You will be introduced to a wide range of sources for examining the history of crime and punishment, both qualitative and quantitative. A variety of legal material will be drawn upon; indictment and deposition records from Quarter Sessions, Assize Circuits, the Kings Bench and the very rich Old Bailey Sessions Papers and Newgate Calendar. Alongside this the writings of contemporaries such as Defoe, Fielding, Smollett will be considered. Criminal biographies, judges’ notebooks, newspapers, canting dictionaries and satirical images also provide interesting and informative sources.