The Historical Origins of the Sanction of Imprisonment for Serious Crime

@article{Langbein1976TheHO,
  title={The Historical Origins of the Sanction of Imprisonment for Serious Crime},
  author={John H. Langbein},
  journal={The Journal of Legal Studies},
  year={1976},
  volume={5},
  pages={35 - 60}
}
T HE movement for the abolition of capital punishment is righty associated with the writers of the Enlightenment, especially Beccaria, whose enormously influential tract appeared in 1764. Perhaps because the abolitionists drew so much attention to the gore of the capital sanctions of the eighteenth century, it has seldom been realized that capital punishment was already in a deep decline in the age of Beccaria and Voltaire. Writing to Voltaire in 177 7, Frederick the Great boasted that in the… 

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