Crime And Punishment Throughout New France 's Legal System

2046 Words Dec 11th, 2016 9 Pages
Crime and punishment in Wendake communities and in New France was completely different, as the Wendat people based their legal system on reparations and preserving the community while New France’s legal system was based on religion and terror. According to records kept by French Catholic missionaries, the Wendat legal system emphasized compensation for crimes and prioritized social cohesion as opposed to individual punishment. For example, when someone was murdered, the family of the perpetrator arranged reparations with the family of the victim. It was a collective responsibility, so the entire family of the murderer was expected to pay for the crime. Accompanying the compensation was a public ceremony meant to heal the wounds of the victim’s family. Unlike contemporary European legal systems, there were no judges or individual punishments. New France, on the other hand, inherited their legal system from France and therefore did have judges and individual punishment. Although both systems attempted to create social order through law, their methods of doing so were different. While Wendat law focused on preserving the community and healing together, the New France legal system was based on the idea of terror as a deterrent to crime. Individual punishments were meant to terrorize the public and impress upon them the consequences of deviance. For example, convicted murderers were publically hanged and had their corpses displayed on gibbets. Criminals with lesser charges were…
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