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Manslaughter is the crime of killing a person wherein less guilt, also known as less culpability, is involved (an example would be an accidental killing). It is not considered as culpable as murder. Killing someone in self-defence is not always, but usually, thought to be manslaughter. Negligent homicide is an even lesser crime.
Manslaughter is a relatively new legal concept. It was first mentioned in an English statute in 1547. Very few countries had manslaughter on their books until the latter half of the 20th century. In fact, no jurisdiction in the United States had manslaughter on its books until the 20th century. England and the United States were the first two countries to introduce manslaughter into their laws.