The Death Penalty And The United States

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The death penalty, as we know it today, didn’t exist in the United States until 1976. However, the American penal system has incorporated capital punishment since the earliest settlements were founded in the early 1600’s. The first recorded execution in the United States occurred in 1608 in Jamestown, Virginia when Captain George Kendall was executed just one year after the Jamestown settlement had been established after he had been convicted of being a spy for Spain (Part I: History of the Death Penalty). Over the next 250 years, several states moved toward abolishing capital punishment altogether. While there has been serious push towards ending capital punishment, more than half of state governments within the United States cling onto their right to execute criminals who perform truly heinous crimes. While many states have maintained their Constitutional right to perform actions outside of the realm of the Federal government, public opinion of the death penalty began to dwindle within the United States as many of its allies emerged from World War II. The United States and her allied nations bore witness to the devastating actions performed by Nazi Germany and the Concentration Camps and must have therefore felt a great desire to ensure that no such actions could be decreed by a government over its people. The landmark case for capital punishment in the United States occurred in 1972 in Furman v. Georgia. In the case, …prisoners were sentenced to death after
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