Cesare Beccaria Essay Crimes Punishments

Cesare Beccaria (1738 – 1794) was perhaps an unlikely figure to trigger a veritable revolution in criminology.

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He received a Jesuit education, and achieved his degree in 1758.

In 1761, he married Teresa di Blasco against his parents wishes.

The intellectuals thought of him as "childish imbecile without backbone and unable of living away from his mother (Paolucci, pg. Away from the support of his friends, he never wrote anything else that was worthy of publication. After his death his legend in France and England grew.

Many people at that time thought that Beccaria was silenced by the suppression of a tyrannical government.

They did not care to know or admit that he brought the silence upon himself.

Beccaria is still remember today as a father of classical criminal theory, and as a literally champion of the cause of humanity.When Beccaria wrote the treatise, his friends recommended topic, gave him the information, elaborated on the subject matter and arranged his written words together into a readable work.While the treatise concerned the criminal justice system, Beccaria had no experience or knowledge of that system, but once again his friends helped him out.The Wolf Law Library purchased the first English edition as listed in Dean's memo.Marbled boards with leather corners rebacked in period-style calf with blind tooling and red label to spine. Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr.The French intellectuals warmly welcomed Beccarias treatise, "On Crimes and Punishments" , and he was subsequently invited to go to Paris.Upon arriving in Paris, it was clear that Beccaria did not fit in with the other enlightened intellectuals. After Paris he distanced himself from his friends and stopped being part of the "academy of fists" He went to Austria were he was not so well known and worked quietly for the Austrian government.At this time he also had two very close friends, Friends Pietro and Alessandro Verri, and they together formed a society later known as the "academy of fists".This group was "dedicated to waging relentless war against economic disorder, bureaucratic petty tyranny, religious narrow-mindedness, and intellectual pedantry" (Paolucci, pg.xii).His treatise, "On Crimes and Punishments" had a large and lasting impact on the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights and our criminal justice system.So while he only wrote one worthy, published essay, his influence is still felt today.


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