Treason & Bribery
The meaning of treason has been existent for many centuries dating back to the medieval times when kings ruled and knights dueled. At that time there were two separate grades of treason; high and petty. High treason was known as a large offense toward the king and was taken rather seriously. If you had committed treason against the king and were caught then you may find yourself without a head. Kings were rather cruel people and believed in appropriate punishment; they may put you in the dungeon or they may light you on fire, who knows. Petty treason was considerably at a far lower level of treason than high, instead of involving such an important person like the king, petty treasons were taken against normal everyday subjects or peasants. A petty treason could consist of a servant murdering his master or a wife killing her husband. Notice how the difference from plain murder and treason can be described; on all of the incidences above both people have a certain law binding bond or allegiance between them and when they kill or murder the other, they break the bond which breaks the law.
Today, treason can be considered as an attempt to overthrow a government or betray a state or nation. In Article III, Section 3, of the United States Constitution follows English law that:"Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court." Also during wars like the French and Indian War things like trading with the enemy were considered treasonous. During the colonial days the penalty for treason was: providing for attainder, forfeiture, or loss of property, and loss of all rights in inheritance. In the American Revolution such acts as the Boston Tea Party were considered treasonous against the King of England. In 1790, the set punishment for treason by Congress was a hanging. There were personal trials like for Aaron Burr who was disliked after he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. He was believed to be linked to a conspiracy to establish a kingdom west of the Appalachians.
Today and over a hundred years ago bribery was known and still is known as the same thing. The basic meaning of bribery can be described as a way to get someone to do something, for something in exchange. For example, convincing your little brother to give you the TV remote even after he said no, but this time you bribe him by telling him that you will give him candy for the remote. Just as you are able to bribe your little brothers and sisters, people in power try to bribe other people in power for even greater power or things of greater monetry value. Of course the authors of the Constitution knew bribes were tempting and made a law that prevented any government official from accepting a bribe, especially from a foreign nation, without being kicked out of office.