The criminal justice system in eighteenth-century England was an integral part of European society. The legal system had always been associated with several facets of everyday life and touched upon the lives of those in every class of European society. One of England’s oldest and most significant courthouses was the Old Bailey, which held thousands of trials and sessions over the two hundred and forty years it was active. Out of the wide variety of cases to choose from, ten sexual offences revolving around bigamy were selected to present how the criminal justice system leaked into different areas of life. In order to accurately and adequately depict what these cases revealed, this paper examined three different faculties of the criminal justice system: commitment, procedure and members. Specifically, the ten bigamy cases revealed how the criminal justice system operated on a basis of religion and the patriarchal system. Religion was to be found in the commitment of the oath of truth given at the beginning of each testimony, the patriarchal system was revealed through rape cases, and the members, being the clergymen, revealed both elements at play.
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Horton, Luke HS
"Divine Suppressors: Bigamy in the Eighteenth-century Criminal Justice System,"
Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History: Vol. 10
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/aujh/vol10/iss2/3