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Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Draco in the 7th century BCE. The definition of manslaughter differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The law generally differentiates between levels of criminal culpability based on the mens rea, or state of mind; or the circumstances under which the killing occurred. Manslaughter is usually broken down into two distinct categories: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter; however, this is not the case in all jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, such as the UK, Canada and some Australian states provocation is a partial defence to a charge of murder which acts by converting what would otherwise have been murder into manslaughter. (via Freebase)