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Moral Reform And The Banishment Of Citizens

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Chapter Summary

The Ulmer authorities used banishment extensively in their attempts to rid the town of errant citizens, relying upon expulsion to remove disruptive citizens and correct their behavior, while leaving open the possibility of their reintegration into local society. Post-Reformation efforts to reorder society and promote moral behavior were carried out not only through the inculcation of evangelical religiosity and new behavioral norms, but also through the purgation of stubborn offenders defined according to traditional behavioral norms that emerged in the late Middle Ages. While the town council's efforts to punish and control citizens through banishment rested upon the cooperation of its citizens, they also reveal the tensions inherent in early modern social control. Defiant citizens proved difficult for the local authorities to control and often hampered law enforcement efforts through dogged recidivism and by ignoring official sanctions.

Keywords:banishment; citizens; early modern social control; evangelical religiosity; law enforcement; moral behavior; moral reform; offenders; recidivism; Ulm's town council



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