Monday, July 19, 2010

Parliment* (for Parliament*)

Having a rough week? Why not read someone the riot act?

The Riot Act was passed by British Parliament (not Parliment) in 1714 and took effect in 1715; the full text can actually be read on Project Gutenberg. It allowed the authorities to disperse any crowd or more people who were seen to be acting riotously or disturbing the peace.

The entire name of the act was "An act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters" -- which I imagine was hard to recite when standing in front of a mob of angry rioters.

Reading it out loud might put the fear of harsh punishment into your enemies, the way it did for the British government, but the legalese will at least put them to sleep.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

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