Criminal Justice | Learning Resources | Section 4.1

Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System by Adam J. McKee

Section 4.1: Early History of Policing

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Learning Resources

Learning Objectives
Describe how policing was done in the earliest human societies.
4.1(b) Name and provide the origin of the earliest written codes of law.
Describe the major elements of the mutual pledge system.
Describe the major elements of the watch and ward system.
4.1(e) Sketch the early history of the London Metropolitan Police and explain the impact of Robert Peel’s innovations on policing in America.
Describe the political era of policing in America and its associated problems.
4.1(f) Describe the key reformers and the key reforms of the reform era.

Slide Presentations

For the Classroom:  INTRO-Section-4-1-presentation

For Printing: INTRO-Section-4-1-print

Present from the web:

Key Terms

  • Amalgamation
  • August Vollmer
  • Beat
  • Civil Service
  • Code of Hammurabi
  • Decentralized
  • Frankpledge System
  • Hue and Cry
  • Hundred
  • Kin Policing
  • Magna Carta
  • Mosaic Code
  • Mutual Pledge System
  • Nationalization
  • O. W. Wilson
  • Parish
  • Political Era
  • Posse Comitatus
  • Preventive Patrol
  • Proactive
  • Reactive
  • Reform Era
  • Sheriff
  • Shire
  • Shire-reeve
  • Tithing
  • Tithingman
  • Watch and Ward

Download a Printable Vocabulary Study Guide [PDF]: Intro_Section_4.1

In your more advanced courses and in your future career, your understanding of many technical and legal terms will be taken for granted.  It is vital that you take the time to really understand the terms presented at the end of each section of this course.  We’ve gone to great lengths to provide you with assistance in mastering this vocabulary.  Don’t forget that there is an extensive glossary that defines all of the bold terms that you will encounter in your reading.  In addition, the vocabulary for each section has been made available on a very useful website called  This site has a wide selection of flashcards for you to study, memorize, test yourself on, and more.  Cram also has a large app store so you can find other mobile flashcards for your Android, iPhone, or Windows device, allowing you to take your flashcards on the go. There are even games that add some fun to learning important terms.

Study Flashcards for this vocabulary on

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Last Updated:  04/21/2021

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