Death Penalty: Pros and Cons

Essay by cowboy_yeehaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2004

download word file, 4 pages ( 6 KB ) 5.0

Capital punishment has been the center of much controversy dating back to its origins. Although the roots of capital punishment can be traced as far back as 1697 BC, arguments over its effectiveness and morality continue in the midst of its existence today. There are many people who have come up with arguments for both sides. Most people who believe that the death penalty is a fair punishment use the argument, "lex talionis", meaning, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an arm for an arm, a life for a life." (Hooker). While most people who are in opposition use the argument that capital punishment is a cruel and unusual punishment which violates the eighth amendment to the United States Constitution. Today, in the United States, there are approximately 3,624 people on death row. (Pro-death Penalty.com)

Throughout history there have been many methods of executing criminals.

Some of these methods are crucifixion, stoning, drowning, burning at the stake, impaling and beheading. But more modern methods of capital punishment are typically accomplished by lethal gas or injection, electrocution, hanging or shooting. The argument over the brutality of capital punishment is at the head of topics concerning it as a whole. These arguments are also not only centered in The United States but all over the world as well. About 90 nations have denounced capital punishment by abolishing it, but almost an equal amount of nations retain it (MSN Encarta). Capital punishment remains legal in all but twelve states. Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin all do not use the death penalty. (Pro-death Penalty.com)

Many people feel that the death penalty is cruel as well as an ineffective crime deterrent. But the most successful argument that...