The Death Penalty Essay

1168 WordsSep 2, 20115 Pages
The Death Penalty SOC 101 July 11, 2011 The death penalty also called capital punishment by definition is punishment by death for a crime ("Dictionary.com, llc," 2011). The death penalty has been dated back to the Eighteenth Century B.C. The use of the death penalty in America was influenced by Britain over any other country. “The first recorded execution in the new colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608” ("Death penalty information," 2010). Captain Kendall was reported as being a spy for Spain. Each colony had their own laws regarding the death penalty and they varied widely. In 1767 Cesare Beccaria wrote an essay On Crimes and Punishment, this essay which stated “that there was no justification for the state’s taking of a life” ("Death penalty information," 2010), resulted in the death penalty being abolished in Austria and Tuscany; it also gave a strong voice to the abolitionist movement. Thomas Jefferson was the first to try to reform the death penalty in the United States. His theory was that it should only be used for extreme crimes like murder and treason; it was blocked by just one vote. In the Nineteenth Century the world saw the abolishment of the death penalty in many countries and some of the states within the U.S. The Civil War took attention from the death penalty and the anti-slavery movement emerged. The 1920’s brought rejuvenation to the death penalty because criminologist wrote that it was a crucial social measure. The 1930’s had more executions than any other decade throughout history in the US with the average being a 167 per year. Over the next forty years the death penalty was modified; and several allied nations either abolished it all together or limited its uses. In June of 1972 the Supreme Court suspended the use of the death penalty due to the statutes being used were

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