Chapter

Conclusion to Part 1

R. A. Houston

in Punishing the Dead?

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199586424
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191595356 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586424.003.0006
Conclusion to Part 1

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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This short chapter summarizes what punishing the dead and their survivors tells us about the nature of early modern punishment: it was retributive rather than rehabilitative. Showing the clear differences between legal rules and practice, it stresses how selectively any punishment was visited on suicides and relates this to legal systems where reputation was paramount. Both English and Scottish people tried to help reform attempted suicides, offering pastoral and communal support for the suicidal. English courts became more not less likely to prosecute attempts in the nineteenth century, but Scots jurists seem never to have been concerned with attempted suicides.

Keywords: attempted suicide; England; Scotland; punishment; crime; law; police; religion; violence

Chapter.  6796 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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