Career and Work: Cesare Beccaria

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A review of the career and works of Cesare Beccaria, as well as the influence of those works, reveals that the author and social thinker was unabashedly the father of the field of criminology. Central to the support of this claim is the definition of the term criminologist which is simply a person who studies the inter-workings and ramifications of crime, and its effect on the penal and social systems in place. In this respect, Beccaria advanced a number of notions that were fairly revolutionary for his time, and which helped to refine analysis of crime and the penal justice system and their relationship with society to a science. Because of this fact, and the strong influence that the author's tenets had upon the surrounding Western world, he most assuredly is the first criminologist. In determining Beccaria's role as the first true criminologist to emerge in the Western world, it is essential to regard the particular zeitgeist in which his ideas initially appeared. The author was very much a product of the Enlightenment, that influential epoch in Western thought in which conventional religious fervor and emphasis was replaced with conceptions of the prowess of man and things that humans, not God, could control and conceive. This intellectual sentiment resulted in reforms of varying types including those related to religion and politics, most eminently. But it also resulted in social reform, of which the criminal and penal system was an integral part and the focus of much
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