The History and Significance of Outlawry

TLDR Outlawry, a punishment used throughout history, meant being outside the protection of the law and having no rights or redemption. From medieval England to ancient Rome to the United States, outlaws were considered criminals who could be killed or have their property taken without consequences.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Learn about the ancient punishment of outlawry and how it was used throughout history.
01:15 The term "outlaw" has a more ancient and specific meaning, stemming from medieval English common law where a writ of outlawry could be issued against someone who failed to honor a summons or fled, setting them outside the protection of the law.
02:28 Being an outlaw in medieval England meant that you were outside the rule of law, and could be killed or have your property taken without consequences, which is why Robin Hood had to hide in Sherwood Forest with his band of merry men.
03:31 In medieval Germany, the concept of being an outlaw meant being outside the protection of the law and having no rights or redemption, as stated in the penal code from 16th century Bamberg.
04:39 Outlawry was also used for political ends, such as in ancient Rome where proscribed individuals were killed and their wealth was divided between the killers and the government, and in the United States where figures like Billy the Kid and Jesse James were considered outlaws.
05:47 In the United States, the concept of "wanted dead or alive" goes against the Constitution's requirement for due process of law, and the wanted posters would likely be ruled invalid if challenged in court. The modern equivalent of outlawry is bounty hunting, where a licensed bounty hunter can chase down a person with a price on their head, but cannot outright kill them.
06:53 The outlawries bill used in the British parliament since 1727 is not actually written down or read, and its purpose is simply tradition and ceremony, as there are no true outlaws in the traditional sense anymore.
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