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Adopting a microhistory approach, Fair and Unfair Trials in the British Isles, 1800-1940 provides an in-depth examination of the evolution of the modern justice system. Drawing upon criminal cases and trials from England, Scotland, and Ireland, the book examines the errors, procedural systems, and the ways in which adverse influences of social and cultural forces impacted upon individual instances of justice.
The book investigates several case studies of both justice and injustice which prompted the development of forensic toxicology, the implementation of state propaganda and an increased interest in press sensationalism. One such case study considers the trial of William Sheen, who was prosecuted and later acquitted of the murder of his infant child at the Old Baily in 1827, an extraordinary miscarriage of justice that prompted outrage amongst the general public. Other case studies include trials for treason, theft, obscenity and blasphemy. Nash and Kilday root each of these cases within their relevant historical, cultural, and political contexts, highlighting changing attitudes to popular culture, public criticism, protest and activism as significant factors in the transformation of the criminal trial and the British judicial system as a whole.
Drawing upon a wealth of primary sources, including legal records, newspaper articles and photographs, this book provides a unique insight into the evolution of modern criminal justice in Britain. -- Supplied by publisher.
Scotland has often been regarded throughout history as ‘the violent North’, but how true is this statement? Does Scotland deserve to be defined in this way, and upon what foundations is this definition based? This book examines the history of crime in Scotland, questioning the labelling of Scotland as home to a violent culture and examining changes in violent behaviour over time, it also considers how gender impacted on violence and how the level of Scottish violence fares when compared to incidents of violence throughout the rest of the UK. This book offers a groundbreaking contribution to the historiography of Scottish crime. Not only does the piece illuminate the nature and incidence of Scottish criminality over the course of some three hundred years for the first time, but it also employs a more integrated analysis of gender than has hitherto been evident. This book sheds light on whether the stereotypical label given to Scotland as ‘the violent North’ is appropriate or in any way accurate, and it further contributes to our understanding of not only Scottish society, but of the history of crime and punishment in the British Isles and beyond.--Provided by publisher.
Providing a rounded and coherent history of crime and the law spanning the past 400 years, Histories of Crime explores the evolution of attitudes towards crime and criminality over time. Bringing together contributions from internationally acknowledged experts, the book highlights themes, current issues and key debates in the history of deviance and bad behaviour, including:marital cruelty and adultery, infanticide, murder. the underworld, blasphemy and moral crimes, fraud and white-collar crime, the death penalty and punishment. Individual case studies of violent and non-violent crime are used to explore the human means and motives behind criminal practice. Through these, the book illuminates society's wider attitudes and fears about criminal behaviour and the way in which these influence the law and legal system over time. This fascinating book is essential reading for students and teachers of history, sociology and criminology, as well as anyone interested in Britain's criminal past.
This monograph traces the use, abuse and negotiation of the concept of shame from 1600-1900. The book shows good and bad behaviour, morality and perceptions of crime in British society at large, and identifies the changing interaction between popular and official notions of shame. Each of the chapters is a single episode in the ongoing history of shame contextualized by two chapters which discuss the historiography and theory of shame and their implications for the history of crime and social relations. The wide acceptance and utility of shame, as the early episodes in the book suggest, became manifestly less obvious during the eighteenth century. The traditional uses and functions of shame were questioned, yet the growth of the public sphere allowed some of its messages to become recast in modern forms. The last examples in the book demonstrate shame's longevity and relevance beyond the arrival of modernity.
Historians of the eighteenth century have only partially theorized about the relationship between poverty and crime; in particular, few have attempted to measure its nature and extent in detail. Moreover, such scholarship has investigated the phenomenon in urban environments, rather than rural contexts. This article examines the incidence of theft in the eighteenth century and utilizes Oxfordshire as a prosperous rural area. By seeking to eliminate endemic poverty from such calculations, the article more accurately investigates whether a link between crime and poverty is evident. By blending qualitative and quantitative approaches, the article also provides a suggested methodology for further micro-histories of this kind across a range of socio-economic areas in Britain and beyond during the early industrial period.
This piece investigates trends in criminal prosecutions in nineteenth-century Scotlandand considers whether fears of a crime epidemic which were prevalent in Englandat that time were also relevant in the northern context. Using legal prosecutions forrobbery more specifically, the article offers an analysis of indictment trends whichsuggests the existence of a paradox in Scottish criminality, where in a context ofheightened awareness and intensified concern about criminality (especially in relationto violent offences) the incidence of this type of criminality declined after the midpointof the century. The piece also offers an investigation of the nature and incidenceof robbery in Scotland during the nineteenth century and determines how the crimewas carried out, by whom, and for what purpose. Comparisons are drawn between theScottish and English experience of violent theft in order to establish certain distinctivecharacteristics about how robbery was committed north of the Tweed and to reasonwhy a wider and more detailed analysis of crime in nineteenth-century Scotland iswarranted. Finally, the article offers some explanations for the decline in robbery andother violent offences in Scotland after 1850, including reference to the ‘civilisingprocess' hypothesis which merits closer attention in the context of Scottish criminalhistory.
This special issue focuses on the crime of infanticide in three of the four constituent nations of the British Isles: England, Scotland and Ireland. The papers collectively point to the fact that although families and communities could be a source of support for women in crisis, they were also the route by which many instances of infanticide were revealed. In addition, the evidence here suggests that the signifi cance of religious cohesiveness to family and community relations may, in some contexts, have encouraged infanticide to occur, due to a pressure to maintain respectability in religiously observant communities. The fact that the crime occurred regardless of the moral climate in each nation suggests that women faced with the reality of bearing a bastard weighed it against the possible consequences of committing infanticide and decided to take the risk. Thus the role of religious belief in the actions of married and unmarried infanticidal women emerges as a unifying contextual theme that is likely to stimulate further research.
This paper has two aims. Firstly it will illustrate the nature of child murder in 18th century Scotland, a country where infanticide practices appear anomalous compared to those encountered elsewhere. Secondly, the paper will consider how attitudes to this type of gendered criminality were voiced by legal authorities, contemporary social commentators, the media and the wider populace. The piece hopes to shed light on how infanticidal women were regarded, whether these opinions filtered into the legal process women faced, and whether these attitudes changed over time and for what reasons. This investigation will be all the more interesting to undertake in relation to a country which was experiencing rapid change during the 18th century, and where the 'moral' legislative body, in the form of the Kirk Session, was desperately trying to negotiate and maintain its grip on the 'common' people, despite the growth of a more secular, commercially orientated society.
The notion that Scotland has long been depicted as a lawless, ‘uncivilized' nation by its more ‘civilized' southern counterpart is a historical red herring. Rather, it was not until the nineteenth century, when a general moral panic regarding crime and criminal activity took hold across Britain as a whole, that Scotland, in particular, was portrayed as a bad example to its neighbours south of the Tweed. By the mid-nineteenth century, the link between rising crime and social disintegration was strongly felt in a Scottish context. This article discusses the historiography of crime and criminality (including violence) in early modern Scotland. It also examines the extent to which the nineteenth-century concept of the ‘Barbarous North' was applicable to Scotland during the early modern era. The article analyses nearly 6,500 criminal prosecutions brought before the Scottish Justiciary Court between 1700 and 1830.