History of capital punishment in the United States
Capital punishment’s history in the United States is basically a debate between two ways of viewing the world: that state-sanctioned death is necessary for society, and that a civilized society should not see death as the only fair way to punish any crime or criminal.
Throughout the history of capital punishment in the United States, reformists have spoken out against capital punishment, changing the methods used to execute convicted criminals.
Ancient Western Roots of Capital Punishment
The American system of capital punishment is based heavily on British law, which, in turn, grew out of the primitive Western basis of capital punishment: personal retribution. Ancient laws encouraged and authorized individuals to seek retribution by killing their offenders. They also began the tradition of defining and listing the crimes that would deserve death as a punishment, setting a precedent for Western legal codes. For example, the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, written around 1700 B.C., arbitrarily made selling beer and revealing the location of sacred burial places crimes punishable by death (Henderson 2000). Read article here >