From ancient times forward, societies have had different ways of dealing with debtors. Usually they were quite punitive and based on the faulty presumption that people acquire debts from some sort of moral failing. Fortunately, modern bankruptcy law has done away with these cruelties and provided bankruptcy as a means to start over.
In ancient times, a debtor or the debtor’s children could be put into slavery to pay for a defaulted loan. Sometimes this servitude was indefinite and lasted for several generations. Once in servitude, the debtor, his family, and the generations who followed were subject to abuse and humiliation until the debt was repaid or satisfied.
In the middle ages, many European countries developed a system of debtor’s prisons. The length of the prison sentence depended on how much was owed. While this system was more humane than slavery, it still resorted to removing a debtor’s freedom as result of the debt. Under some systems, the debtor was still obliged to repay the debt even though they were imprisoned. They either repaid this debt through forced labor or, when possible, by attaining the amount to satisfy the debt by selling their belongings or obtaining money from friends and/or relatives who wanted them out of prison.
Modern bankruptcy law
Bankruptcy laws were first written in the United States in the early 1800s. Bankruptcy laws stopped treating debtors as criminals and started providing a means for people to start over. Bankruptcy laws in the United States have been rewritten several times, resulting in the modern bankruptcy system we have now.
A way to get hope
While we no longer have debt bondage or debtor’s prison, being in debt can still feel like bondage. As the big credit card companies drain your finances, it feels they have you in a financial prison. Fortunately, bankruptcy law provides a way to freedom. There are consequences to bankruptcy. It is not something to enter into lightly. That’s why you need a Minnesota bankruptcy attorney to help you find out if bankruptcy is best for you. If you feel imprisoned by your debts, call the Mankato bankruptcy lawyers at Behm Law Group LTD.