The death penalty has been an issue of debate throughout the world, from its establishment as a public display, to it’s banning, and through this day remaining controversial. In biblical times the death penalty was widely used in brutal inhumane ways such as crucifixion and stoning. This form of punishment spread throughout the world, eventually leading to Britain bringing this practice to America in the early 1800’s. Scholars such as Voltaire and Montesquieu began to write on the banning of this form of punishment, but during the times of war, capitol punishment opposition was and still is put on the backburner as a major public concern due to more urgent issues, such as slavery, or international terrorism facing countries. The people of the early 1900’s developed new ways of performing the death penalty, such as the electric chair and later lethal injection. This new approach to an old punishment brought the rate in which it was used up. In the 60’s, along with civil rights, humanity focused in on the issue of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ and the decline in support began for capitol punishment worldwide. In the United States, limitations on the use of this method of execution began to be instated by the consent of each of the states, one of the first cases being U.S. vs. Jackson. Today the world seems to be split on this issue, grasping for an alternative method of fighting crime. (Randa)
Public opinion is an important part of how our democratic nation makes important decisions. It might therefore be wise to have an in depth understanding of what the American public thinks of capital punishment. As noted from a glimpse at the history of the death penalty, people rely heavily on their mora...
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Nice, David C. States and the Death Penalty. The Western Political Quarterly. 1992. University of Utah.
Paternoster, Raymond. “Myths and Misconceptions about the Death Penalty.” Sociology: Social Foundations of Public Issues. Robert Max Jackson, Ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003.
Randa, L. Society's Final Solution: A History and Discussion of the Death Penalty, University Press of America, 1997.
Taylor, Humphrey “More then two thirds of Americans Continue to Support the Death Penalty.” Jan.7. 2004 http:harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp.
Warr, Mark. Poll Trends:Public Opinion on Crime and Punishment.. The Public Opinion Quarterly. 1995. University of Chicago Press.
Young, Robert L. Race, Conceptions of Crime and Justice, and Support for the Death Penalty. Social Psychology Quarterly © 1991 American Sociological Association
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