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Capital Punishment And Politics Essay

3922 words - 16 pages

Capital punishment is a long debated, strongly felt issue that is difficult to resolve. This paper will examine the history behind the issue, the moral and empirical claims made on both sides of the argument and will offer a closer look into who is greatly affected by the use of capital punishment. Careful consideration is made concerning the people behind the issue such as victims, victims’ families, and society as a whole. The following significant ideas concerning the issue are also addressed: revenge and the morality concerning the use of the death penalty, religious positions on the death penalty, public opinion about the death penalty, costs of the death penalty, the innocent people who have been but to death due to the legalization of the death penalty and the deterrence of crime as a result of the death penalty. After analysis of these issues, we determined that the United States of America abolish the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

Capital Punishment's roots dig deep into the history of humanity, stretching as far back as ancient Rome and beyond. Roman times implemented forms of capital punishment that included beheading and dragging by horse. A death sentence in ancient Rome was issued for such crimes as causing civil unrest and blasphemy (Lecture). England in the seventeen century used capital punishment as a spectacular deterrent. Much debate has ensued over this form of execution’s effectiveness. Some like J.A. Sharpe believe that these public executions were a species of state-sponsored mind-control, while others like Tom Laqueur view the same occurrences as carnivalesque celebrations (Lake 1).

The culture we live in today has changed drastically since 17th century England; in fact, England abolished the death penalty in the early 1960’s. Even though our society looks to the Romans and to England, to name a few, for knowledge on how to deal with many state and humane issues, capital punishment is one where little historical help has been discovered.

America was built in a time when a death sentence was globally enforced and, therefore, did exist in the early stages of our country's development. In fact, there is nothing regarding the issue of capital punishment in the constitution. It was not until 1897, and congress’ bill "An Act to Reduce the Cases in which the Death Penalty May be Inflicted" did capital punishment become discretionary rather than mandatory. And it was not until 1966 and the civil rights movement that public opposition and fear of the death penalty rose to the point of action. In 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to set the death penalty issue at moratorium in 38 states with the Furman v. Georgia case. However, shortly after with a resurgence of crime in 1976 many states had rewritten their death penalty statutes and reinstated its use (“The Evolution of the Death Penalty).

The issue of capital punishment is not one solely dealt with by the United States. Rather it is a global...

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