April 28, 2013
Which side will you choose?
Today in America and around the world Capital Punishment, also known as the death penalty is a prominent issue being talked about. The death penalty has continued to be a controversial issue within the United States. The death penalty is the killing of a person as a legal punishment for the commitment of what are known as capital crimes. Whether it is being talked about or not, it is an issue that is impacting many people, beliefs, values and ideas. Capital Punishment is more popular in some states compared to others; it is talked about more in states that are against it rather than states that are for it. There are only two sides to the death penalty argument; someone is either against it or for it. Some people believe that if someone killed another person, they should not have the right to live but they should be killed to make it fair to the victim and their family. Others believe that two wrongs do not make a right and by taking ones life because they took someone else’s doesn’t make their actions acceptable. I am against the death penalty and I believe that it should be abolished. Britain influenced America’s use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice of capital punishment with them. The first ever-recorded execution in America was in 1608; public hanging for being a spy for Spain executed Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony. Thomas Jefferson was the first person to attempt to reform the death penalty in the United States. He introduced a bill to revise Virginia’s death penalty laws. It proposed that capital Punishment be used only for the crimes of murder and treason. It wasn’t until the early to mid-Nineteenth Century did the abolitionist movement gain momentum in the United States. Many states reduced the number of their capital crimes and built state penitentiaries. Once this started happening other states caught on and started to change their laws on capital punishment. The Progressive Period, which was the first half of the Twentieth Century, marked the beginning of reform regarding the death penalty in the United States. From 1907 to 1917, six states completely outlawed the death penalty and three limited it to the rarely committed crimes of treason and first-degree murder of a law enforcement official. Unfortunately this reform did not last long. Due to the United States entering World War 1, and citizens panicking about the threat of revolution in the wake of the Russian Revolution, five out of the six abolitionist states reinstated their death penalty by 1920. Nevada was the first state to look for a more humane way of executing its inmates and in 1924 the use of cyanide gas was introduced. From the 1920s to the 1940s the death penalty was pushed as a necessary social measure and during this time more executions took place than in any other point in American history. Today, there are thirty-three states that practice Capital Punishment; it is also used in the U.S. Government as well as in the U.S. Military. There are currently seventeen states in the U.S. that do not practice Capital Punishment. Last year in 2012, Connecticut abolished it being the most recent state to do so. Capital Punishment is one of the most controversial topics in the United States and is often used as a political tool for manipulation. (Death Penalty Information Center). The ACLU or American Civil Liberties Union gives us their opinions and thoughts on Capital Punishment and why we should vote against it. The American Civil Liberties Union calls Capital Punishment a “lack of effective counsel” and a “cruel and unusual punishment”. They feel that the capital defenders of some states are lacking the resources and knowledge to be able to help their clients. The ACLU says that the capital defenders ultimately have a good sense of who will face the death