Capital Punishment History Essay, Research Paper
Capital punishment has been occurring within the United States for over two
centuries back from the present. An idea first created in ancient Egyptian times, the topic
is continually used in today?s society of crime and punishment. Although enforced for so
many years, the topic was not morally debated until recent times. Executions are
performed world wide daily even in today?s world.
Records of Ancient Egypt indicate acts of criminal condemning by different
methods of execution. Biblical references state executions of crucifixions and stoning of
criminals. Many in the first century A.D., such as the Romans, used many methods similar
to crucifixion, drowning, beating, and burning as means of execution. In early England,
the beheading of criminals became popular. However, kings began to use criminals as
fighting men in battles, so therefore, the death penalty was momentarily put to rest for
some time. Even so, women who were accused for practicing with craft were often
burned alive or publicly hanged as Christianity began to play a role in society.
As colonists began to migrate to the Americas, the death penalty became less
severe, and used less often; due to the lower crime rate in the new colonies, capital
punishment was not needed as much as in England. At many points in time capital
punishment was attempted to be abolished in the U.S. by several distinguished lawyers and
doctors; however, it has survived through all the obstacles and objections.
More than 13,000 people have been legally executed since colonial times; most
were executed in the early 20th century. By the 1930s, as many as 150 people were being
executed each year. However, by 1967, capital punishment had virtually halted in the
United States pending the outcome of several court challenges. The moral issue had
become a widely spread debate throughout the nation. Statistics show that only 1-2
executions took place as of 1967 until early 1980?s. Between 1980 and 1990, the
numbers slowly began to make and incline in the statistic charts to the low twenties.
Seemingly peculiar, most executions take place in the South.; of the 143 executions since
1977, all but 17 were in the South. Since 1930, 4,002 people have had their lives
executed by mean of capital punishment.
More than 2,000 people are on “death row” today. Virtually all are poor, a
significant number are mentally retarded or otherwise mentally disabled, more than 40
percent are African American, and a disproportionate number are Native American,
Latino, or Asian.
Perhaps the information shared here can be entwined with the moral issues of
capital punishment; are these beings taking criminal actions or merely in a game of survival
of the fittest? The Declaration of Independence states that ?cruel and unusual
punishment? be not permitted in the United States of America; does capital punishment
cross over these terms or is it a sufficient method and process for the later elimination of
all crime and evil doings?
Throughout history and time, means and statistics for capital punishment cases
have been evaluated and metamorphosed. Today, the debate over the moral issues is
heavily considered and a major concern of many in the general public. The history of
these acts date back to biblical and ancient times. Perhaps in the near or far future, the
accustom ways will be afflicted into something beyond primitive actions of man. Until
then, capital punishment continues to proceed and mold its history along edgy lines.