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A Critical Review of 'Property, Authority and the Criminal Law' by Douglas Hay.

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  • Essay length: 3387 words
  • Submitted: 19/01/2004
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University Degree English Legal System

The first 200 words of this essay...

Ellen Jones

A Critical Review of 'Property, Authority and the Criminal Law' by Douglas Hay

This essay is a critical review of the first chapter of 'Albion's Fatal Tree', 'Property, Authority and the Criminal Law' written by Douglas Hay. It will look in turn at Hay's article and subsequent publications produced as a result of, or in response to the article. Each of the four authors discussed, through his differing politics, offers a different explanation of the relationships between class and crime in eighteenth century England. They try to account for large number of capital statutes that were produced, 'from about 50 to over 200'1, alongside the lack of corresponding numbers of subjects receiving the sentence of death.

Hay's thesis covers many points about the systems of control in eighteenth century society. Its main line is the proposition that a small ruling elite created a paternalistic system controlling the larger population through the criminal law. This criminal law was concerned primarily with authority and secondly with the protection of property. Hay offers a range of ways in which this was carried out, such as upper class control of the legislative process in parliament, reflected in legislation

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