Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Beccaria, Cesare: Classical School
Andrew N. Carpenter
Cesare Beccaria was an Italian Enlightenment philosopher, politician, and economist whose celebrated book On Crimes and Punishments condemned the use of torture, argued for the abolition of capital punishment, and advocated many reforms for the rational and fair administration of law. Beccaria's ideas about legal and penal reforms, which influenced intellectuals and statesmen throughout Europe and in North America, inspired many significant reforms in the last decades of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th century. Beccaria influenced the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham who, along with Beccaria, produced the foundational ideas of the Classical School of Criminology. Many of the reforms that Beccaria advocated remain aspirations for contemporary systems of legal justice, including punishment proportionate to the severity of the crime and the development of a system of published laws and legal procedures applied equally to all without interference by the particular interests of rulers, judges, or ...