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Essay on Capital Punishment and Politics

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Capital punishment is a long debated, strongly felt issue that is difficult to resolve. This paper will examine the history behind the issue, the moral and empirical claims made on both sides of the argument and will offer a closer look into who is greatly affected by the use of capital punishment. Careful consideration is made concerning the people behind the issue such as victims, victims’ families, and society as a whole. The following significant ideas concerning the issue are also addressed: revenge and the morality concerning the use of the death penalty, religious positions on the death penalty, public opinion about the death penalty, costs of the death penalty, the innocent people who have been but to death due to the legalization of the death penalty and the deterrence of crime as a result of the death penalty. After analysis of these issues, we determined that the United States of America abolish the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

Capital Punishment's roots dig deep into the history of humanity, stretching as far back as ancient Rome and beyond. Roman times implemented forms of capital punishment that included beheading and dragging by horse. A death sentence in ancient Rome was issued for such crimes as causing civil unrest and blasphemy (Lecture). England in the seventeen century used capital punishment as a spectacular deterrent. Much debate has ensued over this form of execution’s effectiveness. Some like J.A. Sharpe believe that these public executions were a species of state-sponsored mind-control, while others like Tom Laqueur view the same occurrences as carnivalesque celebrations (Lake 1).

The culture we live in today has changed drastically since 17th century England; in fact, England abolished...


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...Erroneous Executions 1992.” Northeastern University Press. 17 Feb.1993. <DSJ2RN2@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu>.

“Religious Calls for Abolition of Capital Punishment.”
<http://skutt.creighton.edu/religion/death_penalty.html>.
Stowers, Carlton. “Life without Father: Inmates on Texas’ Death Row.” Dallas Observer. 12 Sept. 2002: vol.22 , Iss. 37.

“The Death Penalty.” Amnesty International.
<http://web.amnesty.org/pages/deathpenalty-index-eng>.

“The Evolution of the Death Penalty in the United States.” Information on State Government. <http://usinfo.state.gov>.

Van den Haag, Ernest. "On the Deterrence and the Death Penalty." Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science 60(1968): 141-147.

Warr, Mark. "Poll Trends: Public Opinion on Crime and Punishment." The Public Opinion Quarterly 59.2 (1995): 296-310.


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