Capital Punishment Essay - Death Penalty and the Clash of Moral Ideologies

Capital Punishment Essay - Death Penalty and the Clash of Moral Ideologies

Length: 1705 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Death Penalty and the Clash of Moral Ideologies

    "Capital punishment is a term which indicates muddled thinking." George Bernard Shaw      The "muddled thinking" that Shaw speaks of is the thinking that perpetuates the controversy over capital punishment in the United States today.  The impractical concurrence of a theoretical, moral argument and definite, legal application has left all sides in this controversy dissatisfied with the ultimate handling of the issue.  There are legitimate ethical and empirical considerations that stand on both the side that favors and on the side that opposes the death penalty.  The general incompatibility of these considerations renders them irreconcilable.  It is within this condition of irreconcilability that the government must initiate and implement its policies regarding capital punishment.  This fixed condition has led to the necessity for and creation of comprises between both sites of this debate, attempting to synthesize the considerations of the two. The contentious issue of the capital punishment was rekindled in the 1970s when, in 1976, the Supreme reinstated the practice after a four-year hiatus.  The arguments that comprise much of the legal debate on the issue stem from the eighth and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution.  The eighth reads, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." 1


  The final clause of the first section of the fourteenth amendment explains, "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." 2   The 1976 ruling of Gregg v....

... middle of paper ...

... sides, regardless of personal conviction.  The inherent incompatibility of the arguments prevents any solution from meeting the expectations and satisfying the moral obligations of all parties.  This paradox leads to the need for compromise, in place of reconciliation, in death penalty legislation.  The status quo of the American legal system allows legislators to weigh the considerations of each side and come to some practical conclusion for the impractical clash of moral ideologies.


1    "Amendment VIII".  Constitution of the United States.

2    "Amendment XIV".  Constitution of the United States.

3  Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976). United States Supreme Court.  Pp. 168-187.

4   "Leviticus".  The Soncino Chumash.  Pp. 760.

5   "Capital Punishment 1996".  Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin.  December 1997.  Pp. 3.




Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Capital Punishment : The Death Penalty

- In today’s society, many find themselves faced with the idea of life, or death. This brings about many questions and ideologies related to capital punishment. Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, provides a legal avenue for the authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. Capital punishment should be used on those who commit only the worst of crimes, and should only be allowed when proof of guilt can be substantiated with forensic evidence. Capital punishment relieves the streets of the worst of criminals, and provides relief and comfort for the victim’s families....   [tags: Murder, Prison, Capital punishment, Crime]

Powerful Essays
1738 words (5 pages)

Should Capital Punishment Be Allowed For Criminals? Essay

- It’s no question that the idea capital punishment has been a huge part of human history, fashioning a debate on whether or not death by decision should be allowed for criminals. Capital punishment is such a prominent subject that it is even frequently imbedded into our culture. A well-made revenge flick will always be a box office success, but surly these fables of spiteful revenge are trapped in the silver screen and don’t seep into the world we live. Although, at its core isn’t sentencing a human being to death, even though a legal process, a form of revenge....   [tags: Capital punishment, Murder]

Powerful Essays
1861 words (5.3 pages)

Capital Crimes And The Death Penalty Essay

- Capital Crimes and the Death Penalty Capital Offenses Capital offenses are crimes against the State or the Country. These crimes are not limited to death of one victim, but also include treason, espionage, genocide, and terrorism that result in death. Capital offenses vary on the state and federal level. State offenses that result in the death penalty are homicide cases with an average of 10 aggravating factors, and in some cases the aggravated sexual assault of a minor especially under 13. This was debated as being unconstitutional under the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in the case of Kennedy v....   [tags: Capital punishment]

Powerful Essays
2103 words (6 pages)

Essay about The Doctrine Of The Death Penalty

- The Bible became one of the most influential and the most powerful books to ever be written by man. Christianity is what led our country to based its religious preference off of. This is why it would be blasphemy to discontinue the use of the death penalty. According to Devan Benjamin in his journal of religions and ideologies, the lord himself mentioned in Genesis 9:6: "Whoso sheddeth man 's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." And Exodus 21:12 states, "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death." We did not conceive this rule nor do we have the right to disregard such statute....   [tags: Prison, Capital punishment, Penology, Murder]

Powerful Essays
1275 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about The Death Penalty Is Justified

- When one thinks of capital punishment, specifically the death penalty, consideration must be given to the history of our humanity in relation to such form of retribution. Execution has been part of our civilization since our earliest days. All the way from the ancient Mesopotamian societies to the Roman Empire, and even today in some areas of the world, judicial systems could be ferocious and uncivilized when it came to punishment, specifically execution. The nature of the death penalty raises many questions that have led to it be being banned in several states....   [tags: Crime, Capital punishment, Prison, Murder]

Powerful Essays
716 words (2 pages)

Essay about Against Capital Punishment

- The Death Penalty is, undeniably, one of the most controversial issues of our day. Emotional tensions are high between those who hold human life above justice and those who hold justice above all human life. The Death Penalty, along with all other forms of criminal punishment, is barbaric. This form of punishment, indeed all forms of criminal justice, truly shows the level to which society has sunk. When people stand outside prisons and cheer as prisoners are murdered, there is a problem. When personal bloodlust is held above moral ideologies, there is a problem....   [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Death Penalty]

Powerful Essays
1900 words (5.4 pages)

Death Penalty and Deterrence Essay examples

- Death Penalty and Deterrence Ever since the beginning of time man has committed crimes. Crimes were described as acts which go against the social and moral norms of society and people. People have learned to deal with these crimes in many different ways. One of the most used forms of dealing with crime is punishing those who commit crimes. There are numerous ways in which people have punished those who commit crimes throughout history from making the criminal pay fines to banishing them from the community....   [tags: Capital Punishment Crime Essays]

Powerful Essays
3518 words (10.1 pages)

Put Capital Punishment to Death Essay

- In a cold room of an unmarked building, a man awaits his death. The man lies on a metal table, strapped down like a wild animal. The straps cut into his wrists and legs, but no one cares. He is not scared—not anymore. He has no time for fear now. He vows to think only of the things that matter most—his daughters, his wife, his mother, the sunsets he will never see again, the ice cream he will never again enjoy. He knows he does not deserve to die. Yet nobody in the room cares; not the doctor who prepares the IV, the state official who stays busy scribbling away on meaningless paperwork, or the guards who avoid eye contact in the corner....   [tags: Capital Punishment, Death Penalty]

Powerful Essays
2133 words (6.1 pages)

The Death Penalty And Capital Punishment Essay

- The End of the Death Penalty May Be Around the Corner The death penalty or also known as capital punishment has been around for thousands of years, yet in today 's society, it is not very common to hear that a prisoner has been executed. There are hundreds of people that have been sentenced for death, but how many have actually had their sentence carried out. There are people who have been on death row for ten, twenty, and even thirty plus years still waiting for their execution. Which leads to the question of, how effective is capital punishment if prisoners are waiting for decades before procedure are even carried out....   [tags: Capital punishment, Prison, Death row]

Powerful Essays
1062 words (3 pages)

Capital Punishment : The Death Penalty Essay

- Controversy, such a common thing in today’s society. In every controversy, there is a “solution” to the problem at hand. In example, there is major controversy regarding the idea of capital punishment, otherwise known as the death penalty. Part of this controversy is found in relation to the extreme cost of the death sentence itself. The “solution” to some suggests that the costs of the penalty should be cut drastically by limiting the number of trials per case, decreasing the budget the government has to spend on suspect defense, and seeking cheaper manners of execution....   [tags: Capital punishment, Death row, Crime]

Powerful Essays
1093 words (3.1 pages)