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Essay on The Problem of Capital Punishment

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The Problem of Capital Punishment


The issue of capital punishment is a divisive topic that encompasses many moral and empirical aspects of human justice. Ultimately, the key issue regarding the death penalty is as follows: is the death penalty an appropriate form of punishment for the United States of America’s judicial system to impose? This key issue incorporates the empirical and moral claims of the opponents both for and against capital punishment in America. The main empirical issues center on whether or not the death penalty is imposed with bias, whether it serves as deterrence for future crimes, and whether it is an economically beneficial option for the country. Moral concerns include the idea of justice as being “an eye for an eye,” whether or not capital punishment is “playing God,” and if the death penalty is a cruel and unusual form of punishment. The position we recommend to our candidate is opposition to capital punishment because evidence demonstrates that it is a biased, fails to deter crime, not cost effective, unjust, and cruel and unusual government action.

The death penalty in America dates back to the colonial period. Its use was fragmented at best throughout the colonies and eventually the states, with each state having its own laws concerning the use of capital punishment. As long as it has existed in the United States, there has been controversy and divided views regarding the death penalty. One of earliest views from the nation was those of Dr. Benjamin Rush, who argued that the death penalty did not deter crime, but actually caused crime rates to rise. This is a view that is held even today, and has been generally substantiated by data. Throughout the nineteenth century, the divided vie...


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....deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=5&did=184>.

Saltzman, Jonathan. “Death Penalty Push Lifeless in Suburbs Legislators Skeptical Law could be Foolproof.” The Boston Globe. 2 Oct 2003. 12 Feb. 2004. .

The Death Penalty. Amnesty International.
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Victims and the Death Penalty. Death Penalty Information Center. 25 Feb.
2004 .

Uniform Crime Reports January-December 2002. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Washington: Released 16 June 2003.

York, Byron. “Capital Popularity.” National Review Online. 27 May 2003. The National Review. 2/21/04 .


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