Crime, Justice and Discretion in England 1740-1820
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More centrally, by asking at every stage - who used the law, for what purposes, in whose interests and with what social effects - it opens up a number of new perspectives on the role of the law in eighteenth-century social relations. Justice was vulnerable to power, but was also mobilised to constrain it. Policies Disclaimer.
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Eighteenth-century Londoners thought they were besieged by crime, particularly violent crime. These concerns were extensively discussed in print, and they contributed to reforms in policing such as the creation of the Bow Street Runners ; trial procedures such as the greater use of courtroom lawyers, as recently portrayed in the TV series 'Garrow's Law' ; and punishment notably the introduction of transportation and imprisonment.
These transformed the judicial system into something very similar to what we have today. These debates about crime, together with the rich surviving judicial records, make it possible for modern historians to assess for themselves the nature and significance of the crime problem and changes in criminal justice, and a rich and combative historiography on the topic has developed in recent years.
Should high levels of crime be interpreted as the products of urbanisation, economic change, and class conflict, or were perceptions of crime essentially imagined fears, remote from the real experiences of street life? Should the innovative official responses also be seen as a form of emerging class conflict, or as part of the development of the modern state, or as the realisation of humanitarian ideals?
Criminal Justice, | The Digital Panopticon
A wide range of primary sources will be studied, centring around the detailed accounts of trial proceedings at the Old Bailey, available online at www. These will be contextualised with criminal biographies; manuscript witness depositions and examinations of suspects; ballads; the writings of social commentators, including Daniel Defoe and Henry Fielding; reforming tracts, such as those written by Patrick Colquhoun and John Howard; satirical prints especially those by William Hogarth ; Daniel Defoe's novel Moll Flanders; and newspaper accounts.
Virtually all the primary sources for this module are available online. After a few introductory lectures, teaching will be conducted through seminar discussions, in which the arguments of historians will be tested against the primary source evidence.
Throughout, judicial evidence will be examined alongside other contemporary representations of crime. Several sessions involve the exploitation of online sources.