The Boston Massacre

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The Colonial age of criminal age gave way to the Nineteenth Century period. During this transition the focus on freedom from Great Britain transformed into a greater focus on freedom of the individual. This freedom of the individual was a freedom of economic and social movement. The clearest illustration of this transition is the Revolutionary War that roughly began in 1776. The Revolutionary war was the ultimate signal that the colonies attempts to gain freedom from Great Britain. However, the rise of the criminal justice system’s focuses on freedom of the individual began before the Revolutionary War began. The trial of the Boston Massacre provides an excellent view into the changing times of the American criminal justice system. The Boston Massacre itself occurred on March 5, 1770, over five years before the Revolutionary War. The exact events of the Massacre are disputed, but it ended with eleven colonist shot by British soldiers, five who died from the wounds, and the British soldiers, including one Officer, in jail waiting to stand trial. The fact that these officer were to stand trial, in Colonist courts in front of a Colonist jury, was itself a strong example of the criminal justice’s systems fight for freedom of Great Britain. Without such efforts of the colonial criminal justice systems to separate itself from England, it is possible that these solider would not have stood trial in the Colonies, but rather in British courts, if they would have been tired all. However, the trials of these British soldiers also demonstrated the changing criminal justice system in the Colonies. The Boston Massacre trials employed several procedural mechanisms that evidence the changing ideals of the criminal justice system. First, the ju... ... middle of paper ... ...freedom of the individual. The most influential Republican Ideology work was Cease Beccaria’s “Of Crimes and Punishment.” In this work Beccaria emphasized the need for laws to ensure equality of all men. People enter a social contract with one another and that contract must be equal for all. To reach this goal, laws must be clear to all and free from judicial interpretation, and punishments must be proportionate to crimes. Baccira differed from the colonial perceptions that punishments are based on divine mandate, instead asserting that punishments are a human invention, a product of the social contract. Further, Baccaria opposed capital punishment because it served as a weak deterrence of crime. Baccaria’s teachings required advocate for change in the criminal justice system, and the criminal justice system in the nineteenth century made various attempts to do so.

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