The Issue of Capital Punishment in the United States Essay

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Death Valley: The Issue of Capital Punishment in the United States

Should capital punishment be practiced in the United States? This question has been highly debated for many years because of the numerous, often conflicting perspectives from which various parties have attempted to answer it. These parties range from high-ranking politicians seeking to lower the national crime rate to the average United States taxpayer who does not want to see his or her money being spent inefficiently. In addition to such empirical concerns, moral issues such as conceptions of justice arise as well. After examining the history of the issue, its international status, and the arguments of the opposing factions, we will recommend that capital punishment
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Even states in the U.S. itself have opted to abolish the death penalty. “In the last decade a growing number of states have ended capital punishment under their national laws and are using and interpreting international law as an instrument to restrict its use and, ultimately, to abolish it as a penalty” (Grant 20). At the same time, however, the death penalty remains in use in the majority of the states and is defended by many staunch supporters. It is apparent that since the beginning of the death penalty debate in the 1700s, public opinions of the issue have been erratic. Just as it was difficult to find one solution to the death penalty debate in the past, the same holds true in current times.

This divisiveness stems from the fact that capital punishment is a very controversial practice. Whether it is moral to take one’s life in retribution for a crime is a matter of opinion. For a country as large as the United States, choosing a side in this debate will unquestionably alienate one or more groups of people. The plurality of viewpoints reflects the fact that there are so many ways to define the key issues. Each position in the debate (e.g. the view that cost is the focal point) is made up of another subset representing various groups and their respective opinions. The countless number of varied moral upbringings experienced by those with an interest in the issue is
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