Flashcards in Crime and Punishment in Early Modern England c.1500-1700 Deck (50)
What three big changes influenced crime and punishment in the early modern period from 1500 to 1700?
1. There was a widening gap between the rich and the poor.
2. Rich landowners wanted a greater say in how the country was being run and so there was an increase in crimes against property.
3. England became a Protestant country and this led to much conflict and confusion.
Did the most common crimes change between the medieval and early modern periods?
No, theft of food, money or low-value belongings remained the most common crimes.
Did law enforcement change dramatically between the medieval period and the early modern period?
Not much. There was still no police force. Tithings and the hue and cry still existed in smaller, village communities but were less effective in the growing towns and cities.
Did punishments change much between the medieval and early modern period?
Not really, there was still the basic belief that savage, terrifying corporal and capital punishments were a deterrent to stop others committing crimes.
What big change was there in terms of the amount of crime?
Crime rates went up in the 1500s and early 1600s.
How did people's perceptions of crime rates change between the medieval and early-modern period?
There was an increased fear of crime. By the late 160s, there is evidence that crime was actually falling. However, most people continued to believe that crime was rising rapidly.
What was the biggest change in terms of the penal system between the medieval period and the early modern period?
The introduction of the Bloody Code: the number of crimes carrying the death penalty greatly increased.
How did population growth influence crime and punishment in the early modern period?
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, there was a steady increase in the population. More people meant it was harder for some to find work and easier to avoid being caught.
How did the widening gap between rich and poor influence crime and punishment in the early modern period?
Because the overwhelming majority of the population remained poor, they were vulnerable to rises in the price of food caused by bad harvests. A fall-off in trade or the collapse of a local industry could lead to unemployment and hardship for many.
Was there a change in the way printing influenced people's perceptions of crime and punishment?
Yes, after the printing press was invented in the fifteenth century, more books, broadsheets and pamphlets appeared and a favourite topic was crime, particularly witchcraft and vagabondage. Pamphlets were usually illustrated and read aloud to others so even the illiterate could still understand.
How did the religious turmoil of the early modern period under the Tudors influence crime and punishment?
There was a general increase in public belief in evil and supernatural explanations for events.
Why did the religious turmoil under the Tudor in the early modern period lead to an increased public belief in evil and supernatural explanations for events?
Because arguments about religion increased and there was an increase in accusations of being in league with the Devil - Protestants accusing Catholics and vice versa.
How did political change create insecurity and fear in the early modern period?
The English Civil War (1642-1649) in which Parliament fought and defeated the King's forces - and the King was executed - turned a lot of people's worlds upside down.
How did landowners influence crime and punishment in the early modern period?
Landowners were becoming richer, while the majority remained poor. Therefore, landowners encouraged laws that defended their rights, power and property.
When was James I on the throne?
What were the two most serious crimes connected with the religious change of the early modern period?
Heresy and treason.
What was heresy?
Heresy was seen as a crime against the Church and an offence to God. Heretics were seen as a danger to others as they could persuade others to follow them in their false beliefs.
What was treason?
Treason was a challenge to the authority of the ruler. It became connected to heresy in this period because all of the Tudors from Henry VIII onwards (except Mary I) became the head of the Church of England and anyone who challenged this authority was guilty of treason.
What was the punishment for heresy?
Burning alive at the stake.
How many people were executed for heresy under Henry VIII?
How many people were executed for heresy under Edward VI?
How many people were executed for heresy under Mary I?
How many people were executed for heresy under Elizabeth I?
Was everybody accused of heresy executed?
No, most people took the opportunity to recant their religion - make a public statement that they had changed their religious beliefs.
Who was John Fox?
He was a protestant under the reign of Elizabeth I who wrote a book called the Book of Martyrs.
Why was the Book of Martyrs important?
Because it cemented Mary I's reputation as being religiously intolerant and gave her the nickname 'Bloody Mary'.
What law was introduced in 1495 (under Henry VII)?
The Vagabonds and Beggars Act: 'idle' people were put in stocks when they arrived in a new village or town and then sent back to their place of birth.
Why did vagabondage become a crime?
Because the vast majority of people never left the place they were born and those that did - in search of jobs - had no support from family and local community so they often turned to crime.
What was the commonly-held view of vagabonds/vagrants?
That they were lazy and had brought their troubles upon themselves.