Capital Punishment: The Origin Of The Death Penalty

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The death penalty, or capital punishment, is when government authorities execute selective convicted criminals. Although, many countries have abolished the death penalty, the United States are still running with this form or punishment. Because of so many counties not seeing eye to eye with the red, white and blue, many debates have came up about the death penalty and if it should be dismissed. Adding to this debate, many Americans see the death penalty as being morally wrong and unethical. That is the view now, but has it always been seen as that? But first, to understand a topic as controversial as Capital Punishment, you must understand it’s roots. It’s important to know the origin of the death penalty, because, how are you supposed to see …show more content…
Carl Sagan once said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” That goes very much for understanding what the view of capital punishment is in todays society. America was strongly influenced by Britain for the use of the death penalty in the colonial times. The first recored execution was in 1608, of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia. (Death Penalty Information Center. (n.d.). Part I: History of the Death Penalty). Any law related to the death penalty would be varied from colony to colony. Most methods of execution included stoning, hanging, and firing squad. It was also done in a public area as a way of increasing deterrence within the town. It wouldn 't be until the eighteenth century that we start to see many arguments against having capital punishment. One person who was all for containing the capital punishment was Thomas Jefferson. Between 1776 and 1800, Thomas Jefferson recommend restricting capital punishment. (Issitt, M. L. (2016, March) Death Penalty: An Overview). A few years later, Pennsylvania legislature would restrict capital punishment for only murders in the first degree. This would lead to more restriction laws and by the time of 1849, fifteen states had passed laws providing for private executions. (Issitt, M. L. (2016, March) Death Penalty: An Overview). Progressing even more, Michigan became the first state to abolish the death penalty and would soon be followed by Rhode Island and Wisconsin. In addition, more methods of execution were deemed as inhumane such as public hangings. New York would be the first to adopt the electrocution method; followed up by Nevada being the first to imply cyanide gas in 1924. (Issitt, M. L. (2016, March) Death Penalty: An Overview). In 1972, capital punishment would be criticized for being a violation of the Fourteenth and Eighth amendment. This would come in to play through the case of Furman vs. Georgie, in where the Supreme court ruled that Georgia’s death penalty

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