Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Beccaria, Cesare (1738–1794)
The Milanese aristocrat Cesare Beccaria wrote one of the most celebrated works of Enlightenment-era political and legal theory, On Crimes and Punishments. While this pamphlet-sized book stands as his only lasting intellectual contribution, it was both an especially clear distillation of many important eighteenth-century ideas and an important influence on other philosophers and legal reformers. It is in many ways a quintessentially Enlightenment work: devoted to freedom and education, oriented toward social reform and improvement, and concerned with the welfare and rights of equal persons rather than with custom or religion. Published in Italian in 1764 and rapidly translated into French and English, On Crimes and Punishments was praised by Voltaire, widely As ...