6 Jobs That Were Illegal In The Past

Although at a snail pace, society and its laws have evolved since previous darker ages. Sure you could take a chicken to court for malicious pecking, sentencing it to death or death by chicken noodle soup. However, as insane as that was, there were laws in the past that would make showing a little too much ankle a criminal offense punishable by whipping (or something equally as medieval).

See Also: Crazy History Lessons (not taught in school)

Barman/Bar owners

Surprisingly this spans several different eras, from the medieval English law that criminalized drunkenness on the premises of any establishment, to Prohibition Era United States. The legality of slinging Jolly Juice has risen and fallen many times over. As testament to the staying power of passing out on the curb though, most of these laws prohibiting libations have been abolished in the Western World.


Professional Football Player – Medieval England

Although today most kids today either want to be a professional athlete, rock star or fireman/woman, back medieval England it would actually get you a death sentence. There are a few factors that contributed to football being illegal though. First monarchs found that their push velvet seats weren’t as comfortable as thought and feared a public revolt and uprising. The best way to do this was to quell any en masse gathering of their subjects. Second Medieval English football was basically a full on city wide riot, but with a ball, it was even called Mob Football back then. The whole town would chase a ball through the town causing property damage, injury and general chaos that medieval people called ‘entertainment.’

Divorce/Human Rights Lawyer

We’ve come a long long way regarding gender and racial equality, and thank God because of sh*t like this. As recently as the 1950s not only was the wife, but all her belonging and assets, the property of her husband. Yeah, horrifying. Just because I want to make your sleep a little bit more uneasy, slaves were also considered property (luckily not as recent as the 50’s) and their oppressor could treat them however they wanted. This included raping and murdering them without legal repercussions.

Pagan Priestess/Priest, Warlock/Witch, Spaghetti Monster Follower

Sure religious tolerance is a widely accepted standard of modern (and evolved) society. Although there are still instances of religious intolerance, lawmakers have managed to strike many laws that might have institutionalized it. Well from the mid-1500s to the mid-1700s you could be prosecuted for witchcraft in the England, Scotland, and Wales and later on in the United States. Up until the late 1950s, South Africa still had a law prohibiting witchcraft. Also not following the official government sanctioned religion could get you put in the Big House.

Union/Civil Group Leader/Workers’ or Gay Rights Advocate

Monarchs, oligarchs and autocrats base a lot of their power on the suppression of people. The thing is when people get together, and most of them are oppressed by a regime they start talking about how much it sucks to, well be oppressed. Thus, any person that would be in charge of gathering people and spreading ideas of liberation and equal rights challenged the status quo and the authority of the powers that be. That was a punishable no-no in the past. Luckily today not only are jobs that promote civil and personal liberties legal they are also for the most part respected.

Are there any other jobs that should be on this list? Then let us know in the comment section below, also feel free to follow me