Death penalty

Death penalty - The Death Penalty 1 The Death Penalty...

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The Death Penalty 1 The Death Penalty Furman v. Georgia Ashley Stein Clemson University
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The Death Penalty 2 Capital punishment was brought about by the earliest governments in the seventeenth century. They carried over capital punishment to the states, and all of the original thirteen colonies shared the same laws throughout. Mostly, the colonial states executed the death penalty by having public hangings which everyone in town would gather together and watch the executions as some sort of public event. This was the punishment for all sorts of crimes, even crimes that were against property. Within the colonial community there were also different views; such as the one between the Quakers and the Puritans. The Quakers believed that the death penalty was injust and actually forbid it from the years 1646- 1691. The Puritans thought that it could bee applied for a lot of different crimes. The estimated death penalty executions in 1608 was somewhere between 20,000 and 22,500 (Anckar 2004 p. 143). By 1791, the Eighth Amendment was ratified into the Constitution. The term cruel and unusual punishment had first appeared in the English Bill of Rights which said that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (Banner, 231). However this was understood to be crimes that were in the cruelest forms, such as crucifixion or burning at the stake (Bedau 1997 p. 4). In 1793 in Pennsylvania, there was the first distinction between different types of murders: first and second degree, with the death penalty only given to murder in the first degree. States soon began to follow Pennsylvania, so that even today most states only give the death penalty with a conviction of first degree murder (Bedau 1997 p. 5). It was not until 1835 that Ben Franklin wrote against the abolishment of public executions, there could only be official witnesses at the hangings. However it was not until 1936 that the last public execution occurred. In 1846, Michigan was the first
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The Death Penalty 3 English speaking state in the world to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except for that of treason (Anckar 2004 p. 143). Early in the nineteenth century, English criminal law gave out the death penalty for a range of crimes, from murder to completely ridiculous things such as the theft of linens (Bedau, 6). Today we mostly use lethal injection as the means by which we execute the death penalty. American criminal law never quite reached the severity of English criminal law and usually only punished offenders with the death penalty when they were convicted of murder. However, in the West and South it was a little different. After the civil war, rape and other crimes against the person were capital offenses, especially if the victim was white and the accused was black. Of all the crimes besides murder, rape was the most commonly punished by the death penalty, accounting for ten percent of all executions from 1930 to 1977. Since
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Death penalty - The Death Penalty 1 The Death Penalty...

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