Capital Punishment And Its Economic, Political, And Social Impact On The United States Of America

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INTRODUCTION Capital punishment, also frequently referred to as the death penalty, is a government certified practice where a person is put to death by the state as a form of punishment for a crime they have committed (Henderson, 25). Crimes that are found punishable by death are referred to as capital crimes or capital offences, and commonly include offences such as murder, treason, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide (Henderson, 48-9). The term capital is derived from the Latin term capitalis meaning "of the head" which alludes to executions that were carried out by beheading (Kronenwetter, 202). This paper will discuss the complexities of capital punishment’s history and methods as well as its economic, political, and…show more content…
Furthermore, in the 1830s and 1840s capital punishment was targeted nationwide (Henderson, 9). The movement against the death penalty sought to “halt public executions” (Henderson, 9). Public executions at the time were widely attended and seen as a form of entertainment (Henderson, 9). The most popular form of execution at this time (and still today in some countries) was hanging (Beliveau, 202). Although this type of execution was common when carrying out the death sentence, it was not always the most humane. Beliveau claims that “contrary to what is often believed, in the majority of cases it is not the blocking of air entering the lungs that causes death” (202). In addition, the most common types of hanging were short-drop hanging and long-drop hanging (Beliveau, 203-4). Short-drop hanging was the more common of the two and had similar effects to dying by strangulation whereas long-drop hanging was created with the intent of executing someone in a more humane way (Beliveau, 203-4). Other methods of capital punishment include decapitation, lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, firing squad (Denver et al). In 1847, Michigan became the first State in America to outlaw the death penalty (Brunello, 17). However, in the years following the abolitionist movement slowed, specifically during the Civil War, but the
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