A Document for the History of Europe

The place and role of the Charter of Law in the history and in the process of the integration of Europe and its relation to the important European events, personalities or movements

After 1830, the abolitionist movement gained renewed strength and well-defined outlines. It recovered from the setback that the policies the French Empire imposed all over Europe. That was responsible for the fall back of the abolitionist policies in States that had previously implemented it, such as some principalities and duchies in Germany, Austria and Tuscany.

The arguments against the death penalty and the need to establish a reform concerning the penal field grew bigger and spread throughout Europe.

To name a few of the main individuals, Charles Lucas[4], Victor Hugo[5], Marquis de Pastoret[6], Carl Mittermaier[7] and M. Franz Mittermaier contributed to take the Portuguese case to the European discussions. This was possible through a network of relations established in the context of the movement and through actions focused on sharing information about the development and tendencies, breakthroughs and setbacks of the legal process in various European states.

Charles Lucas had a crucial role in this aspect. Strongly in favour of the abolition, he studied, in depth, the legislation of countries[8] that took their course towards abolition or had already implemented it (such as Portugal) and disseminated his thoughts through various articles, in conferences of legal consultants and in open letters to politicians[9] of this time all around Europe. His goal was to influence them and bring them into his cause.

For Charles Lucas, the example of the smaller States was not only necessary to the political balance of Europe (highlighting the notion of belonging to a common space, with moral and philosophical morals and principles taken as transversal to the European culture), as well as essential to the development of that same civilization[10].

Carl Mittermaier also exchanged information with the Portuguese legal experts and stayed updated on the development of the legislative process[11] in Portugal, namely through M. Levy-Maria Jordão, reputable criminal expert, member of the Supervising Commission on the Criminal Code and Council State Adviser in 1863.