Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe)


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Many scholars follow Max Weber in his analysis of the emergence of the State as a form of power that is distinct from that of a charismatic leader or an absolute monarch. The claim of the bureaucratic State to a monopoly over legitimate violence is thought to have speeded up the process by which criminal justice was controlled by top—down authority. For sovereigns, ancestors of the modern State, the management of repression and the granting of pardons was all part of the accreditation of legitimate power — that of the sovereign over his subjects.

Establishing control over sovereign territory within borders went along with waging war against neighbours involved in disputes over territory, until stable borders were established Tilly, Some scholars prefer to locate these transformations at the level of social relations. A critical reading of Michel Foucault places the emphasis on processes that accustomed European peoples to discipline social disciplinarisation at the hands of sovereign authorities. From the middle of the eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth, crime and criminal justice underwent profound changes in Western societies.

The gradual transformation of sovereign monarchies into democratic nation-States deeply altered criminal justice and conceptions of crime. During the years referred to, citizens and political authorities attempted to define criminal behaviour. Crime was fascinating to political elites and intellectuals, but also to ordinary citizens. Elites wanted to develop scholarly constructions in which judges, legal experts and various reformers could confront each other. Ordinary citizens developed a taste for gruesome stories and the popular literature of crime.

These representations gave substance to public and political debates concerning changes in criminal law, sometimes to soften it, at other times to make it more severe. In the eighteenth century in Western Europe, penal practices tended to become less severe.

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During the first half of the nineteenth century the most important development in legislation concerned crimes against propriety and morality. During the second half of the nineteenth century much new legislation appeared, regulating many kinds of behaviour and a wider range of criminal types in this area. Family-related crimes infanticide, abortion, crimes of passion, domestic violence were addressed by criminal justice policies that were more flexible, and which focused less on the individual criminal and more on the family and social environment in which the crime occurred.

Also, desired reforms regarding the treatment of juvenile delinquency and mental health cases introduced the use of specific expert testimony in trials. Between and , a moral conception of crime was dominant. But advances in medicine and the human sciences led to a more biological or sociological conception of crime. Crime statistics, and many expert writings on the causes of crime Quetelet, or the profile of the criminal Lombroso, —, Lacassagne Renneville, relaunched debates about crime.

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Later, more socially oriented conceptions would appear, in a context of the creation of a welfare State. Criminological discourse developed in interaction with scientific knowledge, institutional structuring and reform of the penal code, as Peter Becker and Richard Wetzell have shown with respect to the Germanspeaking world.

For example, in Weimar Germany the connection between the development of criminology and the increasing influence of Nazi-style social theories was very obscure. In the French system during the nineteenth century the increasing importance of expert testimony became quite evident in the activity of various courts. The desire to determine the causes of violence precisely made the presence of forensic experts more important in cases of homicide or rape.

Expertise about the body was matched by expertise concerned with the understanding of human behaviour. On the continent at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, the consensus in legal expertise tipped more and more towards judicial inquiry, as the example of fingerprint analysis shows. Expert testimony gave rise to scientific police work around ; this remained part of the search for proof in the consideration of a crime. Thus it was part of the process of accusation, and connected to prosecutors or to the police. In the twentieth century an expansion of psychological expertise, followed by psychiatric expertise in courtrooms put judges at something of a disadvantage relative to the experts.

A competition continued between magistrates and doctors regarding the explanation of the causes of criminal behaviour. These scholarly representations interact with popular representations of crime, popularised in the press, by para-literature detective fiction , and through the figure of the reporter as investigator. As early as the eighteenth century in England, and later in France and Germany, popular narratives, often concerning capital executions, reinforced the feeling citizens had concerning the dangers of crime and the necessity for repression.

Increasing urbanisation and industrialisation fostered the emergence of a popular press which sold to a mass market. This press could heavily influence investigations and trials by sensationalising criminal affairs and cooperating in the fabrication of scandals. The press built up menacing figures and then tried to heighten feelings of insecurity even more by making a fuss over unsolved crimes. Criminological inquiry by police and by social scientists became more expert, and so too did journalism.

Journalists investigated the real lives of criminals, and also the practice of the justice system itself. Along with police, lawyers, experts and judges, journalists would now contribute to the construction of the image of crime and the criminal. As sociologists and philosophers of police work have shown, policing is known by its methods of practice, and each modern State defines police work in terms of three primary functions: criminal policing, security policing and community policing.

Often these all exist together in one location — local police, civil or military State police, and the beginnings of a specialised criminal police. In the eighteenth century, police work tended to separate itself from the work of the judiciary proper. In the English system, responsibility for pursuing criminals was largely in the hands of victims. The victims would try to get detectives to investigate something. Regarding the investigation of crimes, in Great Britain and on the Continent the State intervened, and over time this function was monopolised and given to a prosecutor procureur, Staatsanwalt, Director of Public Prosecutions.

Criminal investigation was presented as the highest point of police work. It was a relatively small part of the process, but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries it took advantage of new sciences that could be used to investigate crime fingerprint analysis, DNA testing. History has often opposed the English model of a decentralised police force to the French model of a national police; but in reality the Metropolitan Police of London functioned as a national police, and most French towns had municipal police forces until In most European cities and towns the police took over more and more tasks involving bureaucratic control with the approval of local elites, thus increasing a certain pressure exerted by the State upon community life.

In the country, the troubles of the latter years of the eighteenth century made rural policing difficult. As Clive Emsley has shown, this centralised military police force was a powerful vector for the development of the State itself, as part of its policy of pacification of those rural areas that were not closely monitored by States. Between and , everywhere in Europe the network of State control in rural areas became denser, causing an increasing number of local conflicts to be referred to courts.

During the interwar years, the demilitarisation of the gendarmes was discussed. At the end of the twentieth century most countries opted for the demilitarisation of the national police, putting them under the control of civilian authorities. Another function of the police is the protection of the integrity of the State.

National or State police forces were created as part of a struggle against socialism and anarchy in the nineteenth century. Thus the International Criminal Police Commission, the ancestor of Interpol, was equipped after the First World War with files on banditry, drug traffickers, arms dealers, pimps, and labour and political leaders in the major European countries.

In response to increased physical mobility within and between countries, specialised divisions of police work emerged: vice squads in large cities, railway police, border patrols, maritime police and of course criminal police. The revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century caused a heavy turnover in magistracies controlled by local powers. There was a professionalisation of the office of judge associated with the appointment of massive numbers of new jurists in the courts and tribunals, but this did not prevent judges from being influenced and dominated by local issues.

The practice of English judges has been the most closely studied. In the s, more than 80 per cent of criminal prosecutions were set in motion by the victims. Throughout the nineteenth century, courts became more rational institutions, staffed by professionally trained persons who followed bureaucratic procedures.

How did these courts work? The urbanisation of Western Europe has been of great interest to historians. Eric Johnson has questioned the causal relationship between urbanisation and crime among contemporaries in imperial Germany, without being able to establish any mechanical connection between the two phenomena; Jean-Claude Farcy questions the greater violence of rural migrants moving to Paris in the late nineteenth century. Many researchers have provided evidence for the importance of institutional networks in the handling of penal cases.

They give close consideration to criminal jurisdictions and the most serious offences felonies in England, crimes in France. The representative character of these institutions has been questioned because of mechanisms by which numerous charges were dropped by a higher court and transferred to a lower one. Lower courts have attracted attention recently. This phenomenon of transferring serious offences is especially clear in France and the Benelux countries.

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The transfer of crimes extends the social control of the State with regard to the most frequent crimes. For the rural world, the practices followed by penal courts managed to display a portrait of rural violence, sexual violence and infanticide. Penal justice in such situations functioned as a space for negotiation to resolve conflict between families, individuals, or groups.

Women played an active role. Work on Bavaria, Sicily, Corsica or Quercy a French region all confirm the two faces of State-like justice in a village. It was written justice, manipulated by the parties in a context of shared values and local interests. State justice would nonetheless become more dominant.

Starting in —80, the State became an unavoidable partner in justice, forcing villages to put their justice system personnel through training that met the norms of the national community. Research has also identified a difference in the relationship between local and national justice, according to whether the example is in Northern or Southern Europe. The Atlantic nations experienced an earlier fusion between society and State, while in the South of Europe the State continued to be seen as an interloper, in confrontation with a society much given to self-regulation of conflicts banditry, vendettas, honour crimes, etc.

Otherwise, a study of the decisions issued by these courts emphasises the increased pressure of the State in the social landscape. Many others were transferred to very large jurisdictions, whose courts began to generate more and more archives and decisions. Around , the French rate of conviction for judged cases was 70—80 per cent when the cases came before tribunaux correctionnels or magistrates courts. Fines and imprisonment became systematic sanctions, producing a massive prison population across Europe, while the policies that favoured prosecutors dropping cases and transferring them extended the control of the judiciary over more and more of the population.

Another major change during these two centuries affected the punishment system. From to two mutually linked movements affected many Western societies. One was the decline in public corporal punishment banishment, penal exile, capital punishment and the other, the development of penal imprisonment. Historiography pleads for a multidimensional approach to the rise of imprisonment as a practice, reflecting many changes experienced by Western societies.

The origins of the penitentiary system have been well studied, but our knowledge of the incarceration network between and remains fragmentary. Everywhere in Europe this period is characterised by the penal and social treatment of condemned criminals. The penal bureaucracies and specific forms of incarceration of particular populations women and children, political prisoners, etc.

In the middle of an economic crisis, French repeat offenders were transported to the colonies until the middle of the twentieth century. In Germany, as in the Benelux countries, prisons were developed in the second half of the century according to a model of solitary confinement. In these countries a very large programme of prison construction during the period —90 did not stop people from being aware of the fact that imprisonment was not an acceptable solution.

Near the turn of the century a social question emerged concerning the emancipation of the working classes, during great crises — In several countries the increasing interventionism of the State in the treatment of crime was supported by private pressure groups. At the turn of the century a renovation of the penitentiary system came about because of attempts to individualise punishment and the introduction of criminal anthropology in prisons and juvenile offender institutions.

This movement gathered strength after the Second World War, with the re-socialisation of persons condemned for having collaborated with the enemy in occupied Europe. A correlation between modes of production and economic organisation and modes of punishment and social exclusion is an attractive paradigm for explaining changes in the procedure for imprisoning people.

This link is not direct, but it gets mediatised by the philanthropic ideals of penal systems, as shown by Robert Roth in his pioneering study of the prison at Geneva in the nineteenth century. His model applies to many different situations. Prison follows an agrarian model until the s, gets contaminated by the industrial model — , takes up a tertiary model —70 , which then undergoes a crisis during the s, at the time of economic crisis for the welfare State.

The system of sanctions developed in terms of normalising functions, correctional functions and segregating functions Garland, , under the influence of the earliest criminological discourses which changed the main focus from criminal acts to the criminals themselves. The question ofjuvenile delinquency is an example of these transformations, with the multiplication of alternative treatment options other than confinement, such as probation, in various Western countries between and Basing itself on the development of scientific and medical knowledge and on the social laboratory made available by prison populations, criminal anthropology developed an explication that focused on racial degeneration.

Thus the development of alternatives to prison can be interpreted as human progress but also as a re-invention of methods for controlling the poor. An extension of police control, the rationalisation of practices of justice, and sentencing according to State norms — were three vectors of a modernisation of the apparatus of social regulation in Western countries. Interpretations differ as to the most influential group, the eclecticism or the effectiveness of these tendencies in accordance with a conflictual or rather consensual vision of crime.

It seems clear that penal systems are not monolithic tools in the hands of the upper classes for the purpose of oppressing the working class, or to impose a middle-class culture on them as is maintained by conflict theorists. Sectors such as conflict regulation at work and in business do appear to benefit the affluent classes, while others treat more or less identically the bourgeois, the worker, or the peasant, as claimed in consensual theories of crime.

Finally, the study of individual life trajectories gives us a complex vision of the place of a criminal sentence in the career of a convicted criminal. Despite these nuances we must recognise that up to the end of the twentieth century the dominant classes in cities and rural elites were largely exempt from the control of the police, from criminal judgments and prison sentences, in comparison with what was done to members of the poorer classes, or to immigrants.

At the end of a long process, prison remains a major problem as regards social regulation of conflicts in the early twenty-first century. To discipline, to judge, to punish, to isolate from society, to treat, to re-socialise — the functions of forced imprisonment in contemporary societies — change, but do not diminish. Neither do their targets.


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Populations of men, young people and immigrants remain the main targets of incarceration policies in Europe, which explains the inability to get away from a recourse to detention in discussions on treatment for juvenile delinquency. During the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, during the colonial period — and in two wars of occupation —50 , Europe was affected by two types of experience involving authoritarian regimes. These present comparable characteristics in terms of crime and justice.

Regulating authorities overlapped colonisers or occupiers, colonised societies or occupied societies. Colonisers or occupiers used police and exceptional military enforcement as well as exceptional procedures torture, imprisonment without trial , and carried out exceptional punishments both public and corporal. Dominated populations colonised or occupied were absorbed into the system of the dominant people. It is ironic that on the Continent those nations involved in colonial domination became subjected to military domination during the world wars.

The experience of the Napoleonic wars had already been accompanied by the creation of extraordinary justice systems operating in parallel to the regular justice system. This extraordinary justice was supported by the development of military police, the modernisation of military courts and their purpose to try civilians during counter-revolutionary unrest, government control of courts, judges and jury members, and the development of severe administrative measures labour camps, deportation.

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The colonial conquests of European nations were largely based on these extraordinary instruments military police, extraordinary courts, deportation. The two world wars —18 and —45 left their mark on the apparatus of social control by extending these extraordinary measures, particularly during long-term occupations. Colonisation introduced changes in the conception and the policies associated with the judicialisation of crimes. Legislation adopted by colonising countries Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium distinguished norms for Europeans from norms to be applied to the colonised populations.

Such discrimination was justified through a discourse on racial hierarchy sometimes expressed in evolutionary terms. Recent work has shown how hard the colonisers tried to prohibit certain practices that were normal for the indigenous people e.

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Other research has shown that crimes committed by the colonised people against Europeans were most severely punished, especially when violence was involved homicide or sexual aggression against a white woman. More recent work has emphasised crimes committed by colonists against indigenous people. After the Second World War, the urbanisation of colonies and the rise to power of local, Westernised elites brought about a transformation in methods of social control: as in the home cities, new themes emerged in the colonies: urban immigration, prostitution, juvenile delinquency Bernault, , Wiener, , Kolski, Wars and occupations favoured the appearance of new crimes.

After the First World War, an attempt in Leipzig in at achieving international justice regarding war crimes failed. It appeared impossible to have military crimes judged within the framework of national legislation. The Second World War saw the emergence of new types of war crime: crimes against humanity, including the crime of genocide. Considered as unforgivable crimes, responsibility for which should never be avoided as a result of the mere passage of time, that is, through a statute of limitations, they become subjects for the historian nonetheless.

As much in a colonial situation as in a situation of military occupation, maintaining order is a major preoccupation for the authorities because of the unequal demographic relationship between colonists and the colonised, or occupiers and the occupied. Most colonising countries used military police gendarmes or army units trained to keep order and suppress revolts. During the interwar years in Great Britain and after the Second World War, these police forces entered a rapprochement with metropolitan police forces: demilitarisation, territorialisation and orientation toward the administrative and judicial police.

This transformation explains the creation of post-colonial police forces in accordance with the colonial model in new States. In Europe at the start of the s, totalitarian regimes, whether fascist, Franco-ist, Soviet or Nazi used State police forces to carry out programmes of strict population control. The Nazi regime, especially, tried to control the police forces and coordinate their activities during the war — including Interpol. Many studies have documented the ordinary and extraordinary operation of police forces under occupation.

The case of Brussels, occupied by Germans in both —18 and —44, opens up new interpretations of social control during an occupation.


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After the Second World War, Belgian, French or Dutch police and gendarmes had to steer clear of collaboration, attentisme or resistance to the occupier, without forgetting their increased responsibility for the ordinary guidance of the occupied population. At the end of the war police forces were purged and reorganised by their governments, while adopting some practices learned from the encounter with the occupying police forces.

Colonial wars fought by Western nations have accentuated the role of military justice in repression, the protection of colonists and efforts to discipline colonial troops. For this reason during the two world wars there was an enormous expansion of military justice systems, and these systems increased their own competence as they increased the number of cases they dealt with. In occupied Europe military tribunals for the occupiers would judge more and more types of civilians resisters, deserters and those who shirked compulsory work service, dissenters.

Most often, fundamental rights acquired during the century of bourgeois democracy judgment in your own language, free defence, appeals were ignored under these jurisdictions. The unequal treatment received by colonial and occupied populations appears clearly in the panel of punishments. Corporal punishment, public execution, prison and labour camps were the most visible forms of colonial domination. The use of the cane or the whip, public executions, things no longer permitted in the European States, were used in the colonies as symbols of colonial domination.

These punishments were rarely given to Europeans, who benefited from rights accorded to their fellow metropolitan citizens; colonial administrations were unwilling to use punishments on Europeans that were considered to be exclusively for the indigenous peoples so as not to weaken the notion that Europeans were a dominant group. Prisons and work camps repeated the presence of the political and economic domination of the colonisers. The use of forced labour allowed the weakness of the public administration to be remedied, especially as regards the maintenance of infrastructure and the clearing of undeveloped land.

Finally, penitentiary exile was intensively used against opponents of colonial regimes, especially during the world wars and the Cold War. Not until the s would discourses and practices aimed at re-socialisation, used in urban prisons in Europe education, occupational training, health, etc. The same phenomena: public corporal punishment and extension of forced labour imprisonment were found during the world wars in the European theatre. With regard to punishment in occupied Europe and among troops engaged in fighting there was a return of the death penalty, which had been in decline since the nineteenth century.

During the First World War military justice was used by military authorities in order to maintain discipline. The executions of and in the English and French armies, or after Caporetto for the Italian army, illustrate this point. Napoleon The purpose of this page is to give you a brief outline of the key events and happenings covered throughout this book.

Events that are specifically outlined in the text are linked to the proper place to allow you to quickly research them. Broader events and occurrences are not linked to specific sections since they are general conclusions that should be reached by having a background in European history that would come from reading the text. This segment of the wikibook would serve as an excellent review or study guide for students enrolled in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate European History courses, as well as students enrolled in introductory European History courses at the collegiate level.

Readers could use this page to ensure that they know all of the major occurrences of each era, and can then review specific areas in which they may be weak by simply clicking the link. From Wikibooks, open books for an open world.

Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe) Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe)
Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe) Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe)
Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe) Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe)
Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe) Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe)
Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe) Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe)
Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe) Europe 1780 to 1830 (General History of Europe)

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