Capital Punishment : The Death Penalty

1997 Words Nov 18th, 2016 8 Pages
Capital punishment, otherwise known as the death penalty, has been around for centuries, reaching into the past as far back as the Ancient Laws of China. We have all heard tales, sometimes gruesome in nature, dealing with the criminal punishment of death. Execution methods in the past were brutal and consisted of scaphism, being buried alive, crucifixion, hanging, and the gridiron. The Romans, Persians, and British royalty are, perhaps, the most infamous cases from the past. The death penalty as we know it carried over with the British colonist when they immigrated to America. “In 1622, the first legal execution of a criminal, Daniel Frank, occurred in Virginia for the crime of theft.” (pbs.org) Some early English-American colonies implemented radical executions for minor criminal acts like stealing fruits or illegal trading. To think that these trivial crimes were punishable by death is almost hard to fathom in our modern-day society.
As time progressed, the crimes punishable by death became more severe. Instead of being executed for stealing an apple, criminals were given a death sentence for things like burglary, arson, and murder. Not all colonies imposed extremely harsh criminal punishment laws and some didn’t implement capital punishment at all. When the United States became a country, a few individuals proposed reforms on capital punishment and when execution was justifiable based on the severity of the crime. The majority of the reforms, however, came during the…
Open Document