London Hanged: Crime And Civil Society In The 18th Century

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9780713990454: London Hanged: Crime And Civil Society In The 18th Century
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In 18th century London the gallows at Tyburn was the dramatic focus of a struggle between the rich and the poor. Most of the London hanged were executed for property crimes, and the chief lesson that the gallows had to teach was "respect private property". The executions took place amid a London populace that knew the same poverty and hunger as the condemned. Indeed, there was little distinction between a "criminal" population and the poor population as a whole, as necessity drove the city's poor into inevitable conflict with the laws of the privileged ruling class. Peter Linebaugh provides an analysis of how the propertied classes, in the exploitation of the emergent working class, substantially determined the nature of crime, and how crime, in turn, shaped the development of the economic system. Contemporary documents of the period are used to recreate the predicament of men and women who, in the pursuit of bare subsistence, had good reason to fear the example of Tyburn's "triple tree".

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About the Author:

Peter Linebaugh is Professor of History at the University of Toledo. He writes extensively on British history, Irish history, labor history and the history of the colonial Atlantic. His books include The Magna Carta Manifesto, The Many-Headed Hydra and The London Hanged, and he contributes frequently to CounterPunch.

From Publishers Weekly:

In 18th-century Britain, most victims of capital punishment were hanged for property crimes-some as petty as the pilfering of spoons. A brutal and benighted age, we like to think, but to the author of this epic social history (originally published in 1991, it's now in its second edition), the gallows were an indispensable tool in inculcating the primary lesson-"Respect Private Property"-of a modern capitalist economy. Historian Linebaugh, co-author of The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic, explores how the disruption of a traditional economy of regulated guilds and agricultural commons by a capitalism built on cash wages and competitive markets worked itself out as crime and punishment. Customary forms of payment-in-kind, in which workers took part of the wood they sawed, the silk they wove, or the cargo their ship ferried as wages, were criminalized as theft of the owner's property; capitalists developed new methods of workplace control to circumvent workers' attempts to appropriate the fruits of their labor; and romantic criminal figures like the highwayman expressed working-class resentment at the economic transformations that forced them to steal to live. Linebaugh draws on diverse sources, including judicial archives, family budgets, dietary customs and the writings of Locke and Milton to paint both micro-historical character studies of condemned souls and a panorama of class struggle in proto-industrial Britain. The results are as teeming-and sometimes as confusing-as the London street itself, and the broad Marxian abstractions Linebaugh invokes do not always clarify things. Still, this is a rich and thought-provoking portrait of a time when "class warfare" was an all-too-violent reality. Illustrations.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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Book Description Allen Lane The Penguin Press, London, 1991. Hard Cover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Examines the executions that took place amid a London populace that knew the same poverty and hunger as the condemned. Light sunning to page margins else a clean, large volume hardback in a d/w - 484 pages including index. Next post dispatch. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 048255

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Book Description Allen Lane, 1991. Hardback with dust wrapper. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. Wrapper (now protected in clear acetate) shows signs of edge wear, and has one small closed tear. In eighteenth century London, there was little distinction between a 'criminal' population and the poor. Necessity drove the city's poor into inevitable conflict with the laws of a privileged, property-owning ruling class; this coupled with the harshest penal code in Europe made Tyburn the dramatic focus of the struggle between the rich and the emergent working class. Illustrated with black-and-white pictures and maps. Our price includes a shipping adjustment to allow for an extra heavy book or set. Normal shipping/postage rates will apply. We will not ask you for extra shipping. Seller Inventory # 562193

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