behavior could always be controlled by punishment. This is certainly one side of the coin regarding
the nature of man, a debate which philosophers Locke and Rousseau wrote about extensively during
the period that historians call the Enlightenment. It is a debate that continues today.
9. During prehistoric periods, the first form of society was the family group. There were no
established laws or crimes. The head of the family made the laws for the group and the code was
based upon survival.
10. Family groups eventually banded together into clans for mutual protection. Clans were very
religious and quite superstitious. Certain acts that deviated from the established clan customs (or
norms) were considered offenses that displeased the spirits.
11. The primary objective of punishment was to appease the displeased spirits and eliminate the
offender from the group. Offenders were killed and cannibalism was practiced. Corporal
punishment and banishment (exile) were used. Exile was a particularly harsh form of punishment,
as the offender might well not survive on his own.
12. Clans eventually banded together into tribes. These primitive tribes had no written laws. The
first known crime was patricide (the murder of one's father). Other offenses, such as the following,
were violations of unwritten laws or taboos and were harshly punished:
13. Group and individual offenses were acts that displeased the gods and affected the group as a
whole. Individual offenses were, of course, acts committed against an individual. This caused
retaliation, and blood feuds among groups developed. The intent of the crime was never
considered, only the effect. Primitive societies had no sheriffs to deal with crimes of an essentially
private nature. Redress involved in righting the wrong.
14. The development of arbitration and compensation tended to stop blood feuds within society.
Tribal elders acted much the same as a modern court, arbitrated differences, and established certain
forms of compensation for alleged or proven offenses. The concept thus developed that an offender
must pay for the injury in order to stop feuds.
15. The Progress of Society into Kingdoms. Kings became all-powerful because they were
believed to be either direct descendants from the gods or ruled by divine right. The King of
Babylon, Hammurabi, promulgated the first known written law. This code emphasized the
responsibility of the individual to the group or society. The code was an illustration of the
importance of putting into writing certain significant matters, such as contracts and marriages.
16. The people of Hammurabi's realm were acquainted with most of the types of crime familiar to
us today. Crimes described in the code included robbery, murder, and a wide variety of other