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A 17th century illustration of Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes tried to assassinate James I of England. He failed and was convicted of treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation.<ref>http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/traitor</ref> Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife or that of a master by his servant. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a lesser superior was petty treason. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor.

Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aiding or involved by such an endeavor.

Outside legal spheres, the word "traitor" may also be used to describe a person who betrays (or is accused of betraying) his own political party, nation, family, friends, ethnic group, team, religion, social class, or other group to which he may belong. Often, such accusations are controversial and disputed, as the person may not identify with the group of which he is a member, or may otherwise disagree with the group members making the charge. See, for example, race traitor, often used by White supremacists and of people in inter-racial relationships (cf. miscegenation).

At times, the term "traitor" has been used as a political epithet, regardless of any verifiable treasonable action. In a civil war or insurrection, the winners may deem the losers to be traitors. Likewise the term "traitor" is used in heated political discussion

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{{#invoke:Redirect template|main}}typically as a slur against political dissidents, or against officials in power who are perceived as failing to act in the best interest of their constituents. In certain cases, as with the German Dolchsto├člegende, the accusation of treason towards a large group of people can be a unifying political message.


Treason sections
Intro  History  In individual jurisdictions  List of people convicted by country  Related offences  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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