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Crime and Justice in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England

Douglas Hay
Crime and Justice
Vol. 2 (1980), pp. 45-84
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1147412
Page Count: 40
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Crime and Justice in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England
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Abstract

Recent historical studies concerned with the period of the English industrial revolution illuminate many relationships between crime and the criminal law, and social and economic change. The creation and abolition of the capital code and the invention of the penitentiary and the police suggest the importance of threats to political authority in deciding policy. Other studies emphasize the place of crime in popular culture, while quantitative work shows the importance of economic fluctuations, moral panics, war and the new police in explaining the level of prosecutions. Most suggestive for further work is the upper class assault on popular mores, poor men's property, and old economic orthodoxies. New legislation and new levels of enforcement, as well as less premeditated changes in English capitalism, created crimes where none had existed, and probably caused a crisis of legitimacy for the English criminal law. What emerged may have been not only a modern system of criminal law and enforcement, but a modern criminal.

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