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History of Capital Punishment in America and its Controversies

explanatory Essay
846 words
846 words
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The history of the capital punishment has been around since the beginning of the world we live in today. As the years have come and gone the use of capital punishment has been passed down throughout the generations of countries. One of the first uses of capital punishment dated back to the Old Testament. During biblical times God punished the world for its sins by causing a flood to destroy mankind. Many ancient cultures followed by deciding that death should be the end result of crimes committed. Ancient nations came up with legal codes to follow or capital punishment will be given. The crimes that warranted death were considered offensive to God and the people. (Gersham, 2005) The first record of the death penalty was in in Egypt. In this case the accused was charged with practicing magic. During these times practicing magic was against the legal codes of law and was offensive to both gad and the people. The accused was ordered to take his own life for his crime. (Gersham, 2005) King Hammurabi designed a Code of law in Babylon, consisting of 282 laws written on 12 tablets. Twenty –five of his code violations resulted in capital punishment. These Codes of laws were one of the first written laws in the world. The laws of Hammurabi had great impact on the western world. (Gersham, 2005) During Roman times the method of capital punishment was progressing. Under Roman rule one of the most famous executions was the crucification of Jesus. Jesus was accused of political and challenging authority crimes. The capital punishments during Roman rule were used widely to set an example to its citizens. Almost all crimes were resulted in capital punishment. The use of torture was often used before the executions were carried out. The Romans ... ... middle of paper ... ... The death penalty: An American history. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Capital Punishment and Utilitarianism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/3174449/Capital-Punishment-and-Utilitarianism Donohue, J., & Wolfers, J. J. (2006). The Death Penalty: No Evidence for Deterrence. The Economists' Voice, 3(5), 30. doi:10.2202/1553-3832.1170 Gershman, G. P. (2005). Death penalty on trial: A handbook with cases, laws, and documents. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. Lethal Injection. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2014, from www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/lethal-injection-moratorium-executions-ends-after-supreme-court-decision. Radelet, M. L., & Borg, M. J. (2000). The Changing Nature of Death Penalty Debates. Annual Review of Sociology, 26(1), 43-61. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.43 Williams, M. E. (2000). Capital punishment. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the history of capital punishment dates back to the old testament, when god punished the world for its sins by causing a flood to destroy mankind. ancient nations came up with legal codes to follow.
  • Explains that the first record of the death penalty was in egypt, where the accused was charged with practicing magic.
  • Explains that king hammurabi designed a code of law in babylon, consisting of 282 laws written on 12 tablets. twenty-five of his code violations resulted in capital punishment.
  • Explains that the method of capital punishment was progressing during roman times, and one of the most famous executions was the crucification of jesus.
  • Explains that the english capital punishment was for both major and minor crimes. the upper class had quick and less painful punishments while the lower class was a slow and painful death.
  • Explains that the first settlers in america were english colonists who carried over their traditions of capital punishment from england. each charter designed their own laws pertaining to capital punishment.
  • Explains that maintaining order and discipline was a major concern for the english colonist as they began to separate from english rulers.
  • Explains that capital punishment laws evolved from the english traditions after the american revolution. the bill of rights prevented the use of cruel and unusual punishment for minor crimes.
  • Explains that marquis de beccaria's essay on crime was published in 1766 during the enlightenment period. he wanted to strengthen society rather than weaken it with punishments.
  • Explains that some states were influenced by the abolitionist movement of the 1800s and started to move away from capital punishment.
  • Explains how electricity was first used in an ohio state penitentiary to discipline inmates by placing a sponge on the prisoner’s skin. edison came up with by using electricity for capital punishment.
  • Cites banner, s., and wolfers, j.j. on capital punishment and utilitarianism.
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