The Liturgy of Humiliation

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The 18th century was an incredibly different time, full of corruption and brutality. New France is a great example of just how brutal this time period was and Peter Moogk’s “The Liturgy of Humiliation, Pain and Death: The Execution of Criminals in New France,” is an article that puts the justice system of New France under a proverbial microscope, analyzing execution and humiliation techniques used by the government and the Church. It tries to emphasize the influence that religion and the crown had on criminalization techniques used in New France and just how much control they obtained through the fear produced by public executions. Moogk Takes an active, vivid approach to writing that not only leaves the reader slightly more educated about said topic, but also slightly more uneasy about the nature of the human race. The article is written with a great amount of finesse that is intellectual food for the mind. The use of certain examples and the imagery that is produced by said examples is exemplary and the author does a great job explaining the degree of influence that these two major aspects of society had on execution techniques and why, however the lack of certain elaborations on mentioned points hurts the article slightly. Though the article may not be the best vehicle for which this information is carried it doesn’t detour from the fact that this topic is incredibly interesting and unique. Early criminal justice is something that not only shows the drawbacks of human nature, but also how far it has developed over the course of around 200 years. Perhaps the highest point of this article is the inclusion of incredibly diverse and vivid examples of certain execution techniques that were commonly used on the criminals of New France. The use of certain words paints very particular pictures in the head of the reader, allowing them to almost put themselves in the shoes of a commoner in Quebec, circa 1750. I can imagine watching a...
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