The Twelve Years That Followed
Extract of winning entry of the Daily Prophet's Under Seventeens' Remarkable Essay Award for History of Magic, written by Seraphina Flint, Fourth Year, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
In Your Opinion, What is the Most Important British event of the 20th Century and why?
"...The changes implemented following the Final Battle, otherwise known as 'The Battle of Hogwarts' were almost instantaneous. After the Dark Lord announced the death of Undesirable Number One, whose name will not be written, the rallying point for the enemy was lost. The enemy continued to fight, and the death toll continued to rise, until at last they were forced to surrender. The Order of the Phoenix, the secret rebel alliance, formed by Professor Albus Dumbledore (1899-1997) was dissolved.
Many war criminals, rebels and terrorists were arrested at the scene of the Battle, those who escaped were later tracked down. Since the closing of the old Ministry of Magic in August of 1997, the new order of the Magical World was already being put into practice. This would be known as the 'Order of Renewal'; formally named, the 1998 Freedom Act.
"The most significant law, implemented under the 1998 Freedom Act was the reversal of the International Statute of Secrecy Act, implemented in the 17th Century." (Carrow, 2000, History of Magic, Chapter Seven, page 98). After the Dark Lord conquered Great Britain, the war travelled to Europe, France fell first in 1999, followed swiftly by Germany and soon the rest of Europe. A new law was written, titled; "The Statute of Freedom," had resulted in the dispelling of muggles from Great Britain. This would give magical people the right to the land that had been denied them for so long. As muggles had been the cause of the Secrecy Act that had seen innocent witches and wizards forced into hiding or else face execution, it was a cause of great jubilation to see them removed from society.
As a result, the old muggle space was now available to magical people, for businesses and home. This ended the issue of high demand for property in magical areas for which there was low supply. It also provided freedom for the Ministry of Magic which had up until then, focused almost entirely on hiding the magical world from the suspicious, greedy muggles that would have forced wizards into slavery to use magic for their own bidding, or implemented laws to control wizards' magic to not be used against them. Now the Ministry of Magic could focus their attention on the economy and wellbeing of the witches and wizards of the Great Britain and Ireland.
The second most significant law was a continuation of the Muggle-born Registration Commission that began prior to the Final Battle. It saw the naming of muggleborns who were disguising themselves as wizards and witches by "stealing the rights to magic by force and controlled by mutated muggle genes". (Umbridge, 1999, 'The Science and theory of Wizarding Blood and Genealogy'). Muggleborns had become an accepted part of the magical world when the Old Ministry had been in power. This was due to the fact that many members of the rebel alliance and the Old Ministry were muggleborns who had managed to climb to positions of authority. Liberals and friends of muggleborns who believed in sharing magic with these muggle thieves had defended them in the past, but the Freedom Act of 1998 saw the end of their equal rights.
Prior to the Freedom Act, 'wandless muggleborns' were considered a nuisance as many had taken to begging in small, all wizarding areas such as Diagon Alley. Following the act, they were rounded up and sent to ghettos and communes to live separately from wizards, but not trusted to join muggles in banishment, out of close sight of the ministry. They were also stripped of their previous unlawful rights to magic, as punishment for their crimes. Blood traitors, defined as "witches and wizards of acceptable blood status who had fought against the Dark Lord and the New Ministry of Magic, and defended the interbreeding of magical people and muggles." (Umbridge, 1999) were subject to the same punishment. Muggleborns and Blood Traitors were hereby known as UNDESIRABLES. There was much deliberation on whether or not UNDERSIRABLES should be allowed to leave the communes until the Ministry of Magic finally decided on a bill that would allow UNDESIRABLES to apply for work visas for approved jobs. The UNDESIRABLES with visas continue to be watched closely for any possible inappropriate behaviour. UNDESIRABLES are also required to distinguish themselves by wearing the BLUE ARMBAND on the outside of their robes.
It was is considered, by some, to be too liberal that certain UNDESIRABLES could be vouched for by family members and live with them in their homes. Others consider this to be a merciful and reasonable law, as it is subject only to Blood Traitor UNDESIRABLES who denounce their pasts and/or accept the re-education programme. The family members that take them in must also be vetted and prove loyalty to the Ministry of Magic. Both the UNDESIRABLE and the family in question are subject to random, unscheduled examinations to ensure that the UNDESIRABLE truly has denounced all pre-war activity and is abiding by all laws; such as not leaving the family home unattended, not using a wand, not engaging in any physical or romantic behaviour with lawful citizens.
Although not the most immediate of the effects of the Freedom Act, it is widely believed that the sterilisation of muggleborn UNDESIRABLES is the most significant in the long term. Both male and female UNDESIRABLES from muggleborn backgrounds after having been rounded up into communes were sterilised in order to purify the blood status of the entire country. UNDESIRABLES of acceptable blood status were permitted to remain fertile but any children born must be reported and adopted by lawful citizens. This is enables the population rate of lawful citizens to rise while steadily purifying the wizarding blood in years to come. We cannot see the effects for sure yet, but I believe we are sowing the seeds for the future and someday our descendants will look back at us with pride and thank us for our efforts."
For the full essay and the winners of all the competition categories please purchase the Daily Prophet's Annual Writers' Award special magazine available in all good newspaper shops, bookshops or via owl order.