According to Guernsey (9), even Biblically, an offender was to receive an eye for an eye; this implied that punishment was to fit the crime committed.Studies show that death penalties began in the US around the 1600 when the first English colonialists landed in the US (Guernsey 10). Captain George Kendall went down on record as the first person to die because of a death sentence. According to Melusky and Pesto (7), Captain Kendall was sentenced to death by the firing squad method. This was after an accusation of spying for the Spanish nation against the Britons. After Kendall’s death, more types of crimes became capital hence an implication that they were worth death sentences. Some of the new capital crimes included stealing of grapes, and conducting trade with the Indians (Melusky & Pesto 7). These strict laws resulted to a rapid decline in the number of people visiting and settling in the US.Many people were against the new form of punishment, philosophers termed it barbaric, and this was because according to them killing of persons resulted to more harm than good. One famous philosopher, Cesare Beccaria, said that it was quite absurd for legal institutions to claim that killing is illegal yet they themselves commit murder in the name of capital punishment. After numerous debates where many people were against death sentences, the US enacted new laws whereby many crimes were removed from the category of capital crimes. The only crimes that remained in the category of capital crimes were those of murder and treason (Guernsey 11). Other states such as Pennsylvania passed laws that saw the abolition of public executions, which was a common occurrence in many states.Death penalties were normally of different types. In the 19th century, the most common forms of death penalties were firing squads and hanging (Guernsey 11). Such killings were quite painful to the accused person. For instance, the hanging sentence was the most painful since in most cases, the condemned person did not die on the spot; instead he or she would slowly be chocked to death. Unlike the hanging sentence, a death sentence by firing squad was less painful. This is because the condemned died instantly of bullet wounds sprayed on him or her. When the modern legal institutions came into existence, these forms of executions were abolished permanently. After their abolition came new forms of executions such as lethal injections (Burkhead 4). Similarly, unlike in the past where
Burkhead, Michael D. A Life for a Life: The American Debate Over the Death Penalty. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2009. Print.
Guernsey, JoAnn B. Death Penalty: Fair Solution or Moral Failure?Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2010. Print.
Melusky, Joseph A, and Keith A. Pesto. Capital Punishment. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood, 2011. Print.
Walker, Ida. The Death Penalty. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub. Co, 2008. Print.
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