Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Question from James - Self defense against someone with higher status

What would happen if, say, a king (or queen) hit someone (commoner) and/or tried to hurt and assault them, (btw for no reason, the royal was the one who threw the first punch). With the issues of treason and high treason coming to mind, would/could the person getting hit/beat up hit back in self-defense? The way I look at it is this, if ANYONE hits anyone / tries to physically hurt someone, no matter who the person is, the person whos being attacked/bullied should always have the right to self-defense, and there shouldnt be any double standards about it either. I realize that no one should be hitting anybody, in the first place, so what you think? Some feedback would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

6 comments:

PhD Historian said...

I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but this is another question that assumes the past might have been the same as or even similar to the present. Attitudes toward crime and violence were quite different from today, as were attitudes toward the difference between royalty and "commoners" (non-royalty). In the Tudor period, the king was believed to have come to the throne through the very direct hand of God. The king was fundamentally different from the common man, not least because he was anointed and consecrated to God during the coronation ritual. He was, in a very real sense, a man apart and inherently superior to "commoners." He was also the source of justice, and there was still some question as to whether or not the king was subject to his own laws (a question that would be resolved in the following century during the Civil Wars of the 1630s and 1640s). So if the king struck a subject, that subject did NOT have any right to violent self defense. Raising a hand to the king could easily be construed as an act of treason and would very likely result in the defending persons immediate death.

PhD Historian said...

Addendum: Consider as well that simply speaking aloud of the future death of a king still living was, in the second half of the Tudor period, a capital offense punishable by death. If simply imagining and talking about the king's death could get you hung, drawn, and quartered, imagine how striking the king ... even in self defense ... would turn out for the person!

Laura said...

Hey James, just as this other person has said, self defense against a royal, (whether centuries ago, or even now) could/can get you punished! And yes, in my book, it is another stupid double standard that should be abolished, because kings, queens, princes, and princesses are not always saints, either. For example, what if King “X” of England tried to force himself on/sexually abuse a woman/girl, visiting the palace, should the woman just let the king take advantage of her/hurt her, (even if normally she would/could smack the guy from here to the next county) just because he’s the king, prince, prince regent, or whatever, I absolutely do not agree! Sorry if I come across as a little too riled up in my response, but I stand for justice and equality for ALL people, hope this helps.

Howard said...

Yes everybody, I agree with what you're saying, however, we must realize (whether the person is a British royal, the US president, or whoever, or not) that there is, and should be a difference between self-defense and retaliation. For instance, just because someone hits someone (as long as it's only once, and then they stop), that doesn't/shouldn't give the other party a right to brutally beat the tar out of them, smash a chair over them, or shoot them with a gun. But I do agree with this, if anyone, whether the person is in a position of power, or not, if they keep hitting you, beating on you, cornering you, trying to kill you; etc,. then you should have every right to hit them back and keep doing so until your attacker backs off.

James said...

Hi everybody, thanks so much for all your feedbacks. I’m glad someone else feels the same way. Sorry if I ended up duplicating this comment, but I wasn’t sure if the first one came through because I suddenly, briefly lost my wi-fi connection.

John said...

And that is why I’m thankful to be in the 21st century. Yes, you can STILL be severely punished for hitting a royal, and/or the King or Queen, himself/herself, (admittedly, rightfully so, if OUT of self-defense), but actually nowadays, an English royal is also more likely to be held accountable (legally and morally) for how they treat (or don’t treat) their subjects/the commoners.