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Bonnie Robinson, age 14, of Chester, Pa., for her question:


A pillory was an instrument once used to punish people for minor offenses. It was made up to include a wooden framework with holes cut in it for the arms and head of the victims. They were then locked into these holes for a certain length of time.

The pillory stood on a platform in the public square. Men and women suffered not only because of their uncomfortable positions, but also because people passing would jeer and often throw rotten eggs or stones at them.

Often the prisoners' heads were shaved before they were placed into a pillory. This was meant to increase the victims' shame.

The English government used the pillory in the 1600s to punish certain writers and publishers for what was judged to be libelous material.

The Puritans brought the pillory with them to New England and used it to punish drunkards, "scolds" and "bawds."



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