Crime and Punishment in the 18th Century

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During the eighteenth century there were many important scholars who contributed with great ideas on crime and punishment in Europe. Not all scholars who contributed to the topic of crime and punishment are recognized for their work. The ones that are currently recognized are Beccaria Cesare, Bentham Jeremy, and Diderot Denis. One scholar who has not received recognition but should is Chevalier Louis de Jaucourt. Jaucourt’s work is most commonly displayed in the Encyclopedie. The Encyclopédie was created to change the common way of thinking through the expansion of knowledge and the development of critical modes of thought (Diderot). The Encyclopédie is composed of 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates. It’s the work of 150 authors belonging to the intellectual group in France known as ‘philosophes.’

The work of these philosophers was to promote the advancement of science and secular thoughts and support tolerance as well as broad-mindedness of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment is an intellectual movement that dominated the world of ideas mostly in Europe in the eighteenth century. The well known encyclopedists are Diderot and D’Alembert who contributed immensely to the completion of this work, but one of the greatest contributors of the Encyclopedie, Chevalier Louis de Jaucourt, is heavily overlooked despite his great contribution to the encyclopedie.

A study conducted at the University of Durham in 1960 comparing Diderot’s and Jaucourt’s general contribution to the Encyclopedie shows a tremendous disproportionate between the amount of work supplied and the final reputation; which has been found to be negligible by the criticism that has only given Jaucourt minimal attention. In fact, the Encyclopedie is composed of 72,000 articles and Jaucourt himself authored 18,000 articles which constitutes 25% of the entire Encyclopedie.

He wrote articles from many disciplines, but more specifically in economics, literature, medicine, and politics. Indeed, Jaucourt’s unique ideas on crime and punishment should be recognized along with the ideas of other scholars writing about the topic during the eighteenth century.


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Crime and Punishment in the 18th Century. (2020, Nov 16). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/crime-and-punishment-in-the-18th-century/

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