The death penalty is not a new idea in our world. Its origins date back 3,700 years to the Babylonian civilization, where it was prescribed for a variety of crimes (Kronenwetter p.10). It was also greatly used in the Greek and Roman empires. In ancient Roman and Mosaic Law they believed in the rule of “eye for and eye.” The most famous executions of the past included Socrates and Jesus (Wilson p.13). It continued into England during the Middle Ages and then to the American colonies where it exist still today. In the colonies, death was a punishment for crimes of murder, arson, and perjury. Although today the death penalty is used for murder.
Common ways of execution in the past where stoning, crucifixion, burning, breaking of the wheel, draw and quartering, beheading, garroting, shooting, and hanging (Wilson p.89). Today these styles of execution are thought to be cruel and unusual. Today in the United States, the death penalty is used in five different ways. These five ways are the firing squad, hanging, gas chamber, electric chair, and lethal injection. The United States applies these styles of execution because they are thought to be not torturous for execution.
The death penalty has been accepted in the United States, but was not always approved by the people. In the late eighteen hundreds there was enough attention gathered to the death penalty to lead to restrictions. Many northern states abolished the practice all together like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island (Wilson p.45). Pennsylvania in 1794 decided to revises its laws on the death penalty. The state decided to use the penalty mainly for first-degree murder. Around this time many states where deciding t...
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...ald J. “Reports: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Lack of Due Process in Death Penalty Cases.” Human Rights Winter 1995.
Whittier, Charles H. “Moral Arguments For and Against Capital Punishment.” CRS Report For Congress 1996
Wilson, Josh, M. “Death Penalty History”. New York: Fletcher Press. 1998
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