Essay on Capital Punishment : The Death Penalty

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Historical Background

The first capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, laws were recorded in the Eighteen Century B.C. in King Hammaurabi’s Code of Babylon. This law stated twenty-five crimes punishable by death. Throughout the world many different countries adopted their own capital punishment laws. Some laws, including the Draconian Code of Athens, made capital punishment the punishment for all crimes. These laws allowed punishment by means of impalement, stoning, burning to death, hanging, quartering, and crucifixion among many others (Death Penalty Information Center, 2015). The crimes punishable by death were different for people in different social classes. Slaves could be put to death for crimes such as burning a hay stack near a house, while those of nobility could be put to death if accused of magic (Reggio, 2014). Capital punishment in the United States was influenced more by Britain’s laws than any others as the colonists brought with them to America their beliefs of law and order (Death Penalty Information Center, 2015).

Capital punishment in America has changed immensely since colonial times. The first recorded capital punishment in the colonies was in 1608 for the suspicion of treason, though the first legal death sentence wasn’t until 1622 for the crime of theft. Colonies capital punishment laws varied as did the crimes punishable by death. The first time reform of capital punishment laws in America were considered occurred…

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