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Lecture 3

Lecture Three - The Age of Monarchy.docx

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University of Ottawa
Carolyn Gordon

The Late Middle Ages • King Harold ruled • Princes held absolute power within own borders • Law was localized • 1066 - Battle of Hastings • William of Normandy became new ruler The Rise of the Monarch • Society based on feudalism - if there was an issue then it was fought out until it was settled or one of the parties was killed • William awarded main officers land and developed barren's courts • Church was a centralized and uniting power • Monarch needed blessing of the Church The Emergence of the Absolute Monarchy • Monarch has the power to rule their land freely, with no laws or legally-organized direct opposition in force • Proposed as a solution to violence of the 16th/17th century The Divine Right of Kings • Idea that the king does not get his power from the common people, but he is authorized to rule because he gets his power from god • This means that the king should be obeyed no matter what • Sinful for subjects to resist Monarch = Heresy or treason • Form of social control 11th Century - Pledge System • Tythings o Small paramilitary groups o Everyone over 10 years old o Ensure payment of taxes to monarch • Hundreds o 100 tythings o Had constable appointed by nobles o Reported to shire reeve (king's representative) • Male citizens between 15-60 required to possess weapons for "hue and cry" The Emergence of the King's Court • Streamlined procedures and made them fairer • Barrens local courts diminished in popularity • Circuit judges laws based on local customs replaced • “Based on situations of similar facts” • Established Common Law What is… • First codified law system? The Code of Hammurabi • The concept behind this system? Retribution --> "an eye for an eye" Trial by Battle • Reserved for the wealthy • Two individuals would joust, the winner is deemed innocent • Nobles could hire professionals for them, so the person with the most money would be the one deemed innocent • Similar to legal representation --> more money, better lawyer Trial by Cursed Morsel • Reserved for clergymen • Ate food with a feather hidden inside • If they chocked they were guilty, if not they were innocent Trail by Wager • Had to find 12 reputable people in the community who would say that they were good, upstanding people who would attest to their good character • If they found 12 they were innocent, if not they were guilty • Now similar to jury trials, since 12 people have to decide if you are innocent The King's Courts • Trial by jury replaced trial by wager o Grand assize - when a large group goes out to find the person they believe is guilty of the crime o Petit assize - a group of people must serve like a jury to decide whether the person was guilty or innocent • Three different types: o Exchequer - anyone with financial t
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