Brief the history of the use of Capital punishment in the Unites States prior to 1950. Provide references please.© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 9, 2019, 6:45 pm ad1c9bdddf
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1. Brief the history of the use of Capital punishment in the Unites States prior to 1950.
The sentence of death has been an accepted form of justice through the ages. Geography, culture, and the passing of time have varied its form, the offenses for which it has been imposed and its recipients. (1) Indeed, the death penalty has been a controversial part of the U.S. social and legal orders since the country's founding in the late eighteenth century. Initially persons were regularly put to death by the state for a wide array of criminal acts that included murder, witchcraft, and even adultery. And up until the 1830s, most executions were held in public. (2) Opposition to the death penalty began to grow in 1845, however, with the organization of the American Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment. For example, in 1847 Michigan was the first state to abolish capital punishment for all crimes except treason. Other states, such as Rhode Island and Wisconsin, soon followed. A short-lived abolitionist wave led to repeal of death penalty statutes in ten states between 1897 and 1917. However, eight of those ten states later re-instituted the death penalty, largely to combat lynchings and other forms of vigilantism (1) Public executions continued until 1936, when 20,000 citizens observed a public execution in Owensboro, Kentucky. (2)
Prior to the 1950s, executions were relatively frequent in the United States. For example, from the 1920s to the 1940s executions reached their highest levels. In 1939 executions reached a peak annual average of 167, declining to 128 per year in the 1940s, and to 72 per year in the 1950s. (1)
The following excerpt expands on the above ideas and provides and excellent overview of the use of Capital punishment in the United States to 1950 and beyond.
Colonial America to the 1780s
James Kendall was the first English colonist executed in the New World in 1608 at the Jamestown settlement. During the Colonial era the English Penal code, which prescribed death for 14 offenses, was applicable to the American colonies. In practice, variations on English law occurred throughout the colonies. Generally, colonies authorized capital punishment for a smaller number of offenses than English law allowed ...
Overviews the history of the use of Capital punishment in the Unites States prior to 1950. References are provided.