Crime and punishment 1500 - 1750

  • Created by: Jenan
  • Created on: 12-06-11 15:48

What factors affected crime and punishment 1500 - 1750?

  • Developments in crime
    • Most crime was theft of money, food, an belonging usually for low value
    • Violent crimes were a small minority
    • The rate of crime increased in the 16th century and early 17th century
    • The rate of crime decreased after that and became much lower
    • Some crimes and criminals became known because they were very common or got publicity in pamphlets and broadsheets ( An early type of newspaper )
    • New types of criminals included:
      • Vagabonds
        • Poverty and unemployment lead people to go around looking for work and food.
        • Some were criminals already or turned to crime in desperation.
      • Highwaymen
        • A danger by masked riders from the mid-seventeenth century onwards.
        • More people were travelling by coach, providing an easy target for thieves.
      • Smugglers
        • High taxes on many imports - meant that there was larger market for smuggled goods at lower prices.
        • In the 1700's government revenue officers could not control the well organised smugglers.
      • Poachers
        • Hunting deer or rabbits were punishable by death
        • Poaching was part of many peoples lives.
  • The belief that crime was increasing
    • Despite the fall in crime in the late 1600's people still believed crime was increasing:
      • The invention of printing -
        • By the late 1600's there was a market for broadsheets which attracted readers with tales of violent crimes.
        • Earlier pamphlets were published about crimes such as vagabondage and witchcraft.
      • Changes in religion
        • 1530's Henry VIII created Church of England - A change in ruling religion
        • Led to many religious protests and rebellions
        • English civil war
        • Made many people feel insecure for decades afterwards
  • Methods




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