A society's laws and the way it punishes people reveals a lot about the values, attitudes, and beliefs of that era. Today we don't have public executions or place people in the stocks. Punishment has varied through time and imprisonment is a relatively recent addition to the range of penalties we impose on those who break the law.
The law is all around us and during this course, you will look at where laws come from and how they have changed through time.
The following list is only a "snapshot" of the titles that can be found on the Library shelves:
- "The Devil made me do it!" Crime and punishment in early New England by Juliet Haines Mofford
- Foundations of Australian law by Callie Harvey - Chapter 1: The basis of Australian law
- The Origins of the Western legal system: from Thales to the Tudors by Ellen Goodman
Additional books on law in Australia can be found on our shelves: Law - Australia
Issues in Society:
- Volume 328: Crime and punishment
- Volume 363: Youth crime
- Volume 385: Crime and violence
- Volume 399: The Death penalty
Audio visual resources
- Tony Robinson's Crime and Punishment - Available on DVD and via Clickview Streaming
On our shelves:
- Encylopaedia Britannica
- World Book Encyclopedia
Don't forget you will need your user name and password to use these resources.
Library subject guide
The following guide on the Australian Legal System also contains information you can use in your research:
- Goodman, Ellen, 1995, 'The Roman law and the Roman Church', The Origins of the Western legal tradition: from Thales to the Tudors, Annadale, N.S.W. The Federation Press, pp. 129-163.
- Healey, Kate, 1996, 'Judges', The Judiciary, Balmain, N.S.W., The Spinney Press, pp. 11-16,
Magna Carta - King John and the Great Charter
King John was not a very successful king. His great enemy was the King of France, but he also argued with and punished many English barons. After losing another battle against France many barons decided they had had enough. They gave him a choice: he must give them their rights or it would mean war.
The list they created was so long they called it 'Magna Carta', which means 'Great Charter'. King John finally agreed and put his seal to it at Runnymede, an island in the River Thames.
The 1840s was a time of experimentation, with a shift towards controlling prisoners with psychological rather than physical pressures. Many humiliating punishments, were stopped, and the last was used less often. The Model Prison was completed at Port Arthur in 1852 and its primary aim was instruction and probation rather than oppressive punishment. Prisoners' crimes were now seen as offenses not just against society but against God. Thus, the Church and its chaplain were central to the Port Arthur system.
Clayton, Mark, 199?, Port Arthur: a penal history, Launceston, Regal Publications
- The pathfinder on penal colonies in Australia contains additional information on Port Arthur
Port Arthur was structured like the Pentonville Prison in London.
"Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder treason
Should ever be fogot."
When Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, Catholics in England had high hopes that her successor would lessen the persecution they had suffered under the Queen. Unfortunately, their hopes were dashed leading to a group of men - thirteen in total - decided to take the matter into their own hands. Their leader was Robert Gatesby and the people he recruited to help him in what later would be known as 'The Gunpowder Plot'.
Guy Fawkes, the person most associated with the plot joined the group in May 1604 and is now considered as one of the world's first undercover agents whose deeds have been recorded.
Head, Vivian, 2007, Terrorism: shocking, true events of global destruction and human tragedy, Leicester, Abbeydale Press.
Thomas, Paul 1997, 'Guy Fawkes', Undercover agents, London, Belitha Press, pp. 6-7.
- The Gunpowder plot: the secrets of the Gunpowder Plot revealed. Using material from the National Archives of Great Britain
- Head, Vivian, 2007, 'The Gunpowder plot', Terrorism: shocking, true events of global destruction and human tragedy, Leicester, Abbeydale Press, pp. 8-13.
- A Brief history of Guy Fawkes day - from Time
- The Fifth of November - English Folk Verse. c. 1870
- The Gunpowder plot - from BBC History
- Guy Fawkes - from BBC History
Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practising witchcraft , and twenty were executed.
- A delusion of satan The full story of the Salem witch trials
- The Salem Witch trials
- Witch-hunt: mysteries of the Salem witch trials
- Trials (Witchcraft) -- Massachusetts -- Salem -- History -- 17th century
- Witchcraft -- Massachusetts -- Salem -- History