View Capital Punishment Essay

Submitted By bwoodr01
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Pages: 10

Capital Punishment
Capital punishment, or commonly referred to as the death penalty, is a very serious and tough is issue to debate, but it is extremely relevant in our current society. Capital punishment commonly defined as the practice of executing someone as punishment for a specific crime after a proper legal trial. Capital punishment has a long and ever expanding history in the world, and as a result, it has given way to a multitude of variations, which in their own respect, have given way to numerous opinions and believes about it. Many people of today’s world view capital punishment as an important issue, and have thus put in great amounts effort throughout their life into voicing their opinion on capital punishment, whether that be for it or against it. Christianity itself has formulated an opinion about this issue, which obviously has great influence on many people today. For some people it is hard to discuss the topic of capital punishment because the idea of purposely killing another human is vastly too difficult for them to talk about. However, capital punishment is an issue that merits great attention, which should be displayed through thought, insight and actions.
Capital punishment dates as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C. in Babylon, where death penalty laws were first established. In Babylon, 25 offenses were clearly stated as being crimes that merited death to the doer. Later in the Seventh Century B.C., death became the only form of punishment for all crimes. Capital punishment continued to expand in the ways that it was practiced. Soon in the Fifth Century B.C., the Roman Law of the Twelve Tablets were created and they laid out methods of capital punishment that included: crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. Capital punishment was quickly becoming a very common occurrence in the world and it was steadily evolving. (DPIC)
From the Fifth Century B.C., one would only imagine that capital punishment would progress throughout history. As the death penalty moved throughout the world, it found its way to different cultures and consequently was treated in different ways by the different groups of people, especially the United State. The U.S. has its own history of capital punishment that dates back to the colonial period. America was greatly influenced by the actions of Britain. Due to the frequent use of capital punishment in Britain, the settlers in America were very prone to bring that practice overseas to their new land, which they did. The first execution in the American colonies occurred in 1608, when Captain George Kendall was accused and proven to be a traitor to the new country by being a spy for Spain. This act of treason was seen as a very heinous and scandalous crime by the colonial people and therefore merited capital punishment. Later in 1612, the “Divine, Moral and Martial Laws” were enacted, which stated that the death penalty be available for minor crimes such as thievery or trading with Indians. (DPIC)
Besides as increase in demand for capital punishment, there were instances in the Colonial Times where the death penalty faced people who tried to eliminate and hinder its reign. As the writings of Cesare Beccaria’s 1767 essay, On Crimes and Punishment became well read in America, numerous people began to agree with Beccaria’s message that the death penalty should be abolished. Thomas Jefferson tried to pass a bill in Virginia’s government that would reduce the use of capital punishment to only crimes of murder and treason. However, it fell short by one vote. Many figure heads, including Dr. Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin, argued against capital punishment, stating that it acted as a catalyst and therefore actually increased the amount of criminal activity. In 1794 this idea would later help Pennsylvania to become the first state to take into account the degree of the crime and consequently declared capital punishment to only be used in cases of