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Decline of Highway Robbery

  • Date Submitted: 03/10/2013 01:47 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.8 
  • Words: 1170
  • Essay Grade: 5,00 /5 (1 Graders)
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Highway robbery was a growing danger in the early 1700's at a time when punishments for theft were savage. Do you think that the bloody code played an important part in stamping out highway robbery or were other factors more important ?

Highwaymen were outlawed thieves that thrived in England during the 17th and 18th century.   The name given to the time period that the crime of highway robbery was most frequent in was the « bloody code ». Modern historians assigned this name after discovering the savage law and punishment system used. There had been a significant rise in death penalties from 1688, a time when there were 50 offences punishable by death, during the bloody code there were almost 200 offences that warranted this brutal punishment. As a result of this, most notorious highwaymen were hanged as a penalty for robbing with violence.   Despite being detested by the law, these men were seen as « knights of the road » or « gentlemen robbers » due to their heroic image. The danger they posed against the country, to the relief of highway travellers, eventually declined and highwaymen were stamped out. The disappearance of the treacherous outlaws can be contributed to many factors, including the severe punishments of the bloody code causing fright in England, which played an important part in the elimination.

The crime of highway robbery had existed in other time periods, it only increased during the bloody code. It most commonly occurred on well-travelled roads far from cities, with the men mounted on horses that gave them more social sophistication than foot robbers. Their glamorous reputation can be attributed to the literature that featured them,   the most famous example being of the legend of Dick Turpin. He was a known as a dashing and charming 'gentleman robber' who was polite to all – especially women,   but the truth was less appealing. Turpin was a romanticised but vile murderer, similar to the many other highwaymen at the time. Although they were...


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  1. Essay grade
    • Mar 10, 2013 - Evaluator: (tamagotchi)
    • This GCSE essay achieved A*.