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1800's Crime and Punishment In France

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Evan Bille

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of 1800's Crime and Punishment In France

Capital Punishment
Capital Punishment in France was normally achieved through execution, and usually through the guillotine, which publicly killed thousands of convicts over the years. The firing squad was also used on rare occasion, but only if the criminal had committed a crime endangering the safety of the state.
French Revolutionary Writers
Convicts in France
In early 1800's France many citizens opposed the ruling of the French government and the laws they imposed. One way of fighting the government many people exercised was through writing their beliefs. One French writer was Marquis de Sade. Marquis was an aristocrat and revolutionary politician who opposed the government by writing of freedom, morality, and the destruction of French laws. Marquis ended up imprisoned for his beliefs for about 32 years, but that didn't stop him. He actually produced a good amount of his works while in prison.
Children of Convicts
Throughout the early 1800's in France many adults were sentenced to death, leaving their kids without their parents. When children lost their parents they were forced to live with their grandparents or other family members. Children would have to do many chores to help around the house. Other children who were even less fortunate were raised in state orphanages, where food was very scarce and the children's futures were bleak.
1800's Crime and Punishment In France
Once prisoners were released from prison, they were forced to carry "the Yellow Passport." It contained their arrest record and passport. These papers were dyed yellow, so the color alone would discourage anyone to hire them
At this time, many convicts were unemployed and forced to return to crime because they had been blacklisted by the French government
Many were convicted for minor, non-violent, offenses, but they were treated as murderers
Children of criminals typically became criminals themselves because they needed to fend for them self and they were easy targets for criminal groups who needed pickpockets
The Reign of Terror
Thousands were executed without trial for "crimes against the revolution"
Robespierre, the architect of the Terror, justified it by saying, "Terror is nothing else than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible."
The Terror ended when Robespierre himself was executed by Guillotine
Prisons in France
Prisons were created to house criminals after other facilities such as ships became inadequate for the job. Criminals were forced to work long hours with little food in poor living conditions. One of the most infamous prisons was The Bagne of Toulon which was built on the shore of the Mediterranean and housed many prisoners for life sentences.
Courts and Treatment of Criminals
Criminals were treated poorly in 19th Century France. They were forced to stay in jails or work out their sentence in other colonies. At court they were not allowed any legal aid or person to help them. Also, the judge could interpret the law any way he wanted which was typically not in favor of the accused.
In 1794, The Revolutionary Tribunal was set up as new court system
It composed of a jury, two judges, and two public prosecutors
This Tribunal condemned hundreds of "traitors" to death by guillotine
In total, 1,376 people were killed by the Revolutionary Tribunal
As people moved towards the cities and working conditions in factories became worse, more and more workers assimilated to crimes.
Typical Punishments
corporal punishment was a common method of police
misdemeanors (not serious crimes) were often dealt with by a public flogging or branding
Felonies resulted in jail sentences or the dealth penalty
Throughout the early 1800's, the French government used capital punishment extensively
Works Cited




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