Death Penalty Era
Some of the first death penalties were established in the 18th century BC by King Hammurabi of Babylon. By the 16th century BC the first death sentence was carried out in Egypt. A member of the nobility was accused of magic and was forced to take his own life. The idea of a death penalty continued throughout the 14th, 7th and 5th century’s BC within the major civilizations at the time. During the 14th century BC, in the region known as Syria and Turkey, the Hittite empire also allowed for the death penalty for certain crimes. In 7th century BC the city of Athens allowed the death penalty to be used for every crime. Then in the 5th century BC Roman law also allowed for the death penalty for certain crimes committed.
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Beginning in 450 BC the most common way to kill the accused was by throwing them into a quagmire (A swampy area that acts like quick sand therefore they could not escape). From 450 BC to 10 centuries later hanging from gallows became the most common method of execution. In Britain the idea of execution continued during those 10 centuries until William the Conqueror became ruler of Britain and would not allow anyone to be executed for any offense. Although criminals were not executed, he did allow them to be mutilated as punishment. From this the people of Britain during the Middle Ages not only killed the person to make an example but also began torturing them. One new method of killing and torture was, for treason a woman was burned and a man was drawn, hung and quartered (pulled by horse, hung, and then cut into pieces). For marrying a Jew you could be burned. Those who did not confess to their crimes were pressed by placing weights on the accused chest. During this they would slowly make the situation worse for the accused by giving them bad water or small amounts of bread to keep them alive for days. The pressing would continue until the convicted confessed or died. In 1531 Rulers of Britain approved of boiling a person to death. Once the 1700’s came around there were two hundred and twenty-two crimes that were punishable by death. It was not until 1823 that reforms began on the death penalty. For approximately 100 crimes death was no longer the penalty. Most of those crimes being minor like cutting down a tree without permission. Then in 1840 Britain attempted to abolish all capital punishment. It would not be until 1965 that a law would