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Maramures Travel on Debtors could be publicly flogged, while others had an ear cut off or had an ear nailed, while still attached, to a pillory in a public forum. The 1705 Statute of Anne law gave prosecutors the right to execute debtors and approximately five people were put to death under this law. Bankruptcy in America. Given the chaotic state of the economy in early America and large debts the nation owed for financing the AMERICAN REVOLUTION, the founders were not willing to enact punitive bankruptcy laws in the young country. The federal government empowered the individual states to dictate bankruptcy laws. Many of these mimicked the English in harshness, including nailing convicted debtors to the pillory and branding a T on the thumb of debtors for thief. The first official bankruptcy law in the UNITED STATES was passed in 1800 to regulate land speculation deals. Maramures Travel 2016.