Capital Punishment

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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Capital Punishment Capital Punishment is the most effective deterrent to anyone thinking of committing a serious crime such as premeditated first degree murder. Capital punishment may seem harsh, but a comprehensive study in the United States indicates that it makes a person think twice before committing such a serious crime, and therefore actually saves lives.

Here is a brief history of the death penalty and it's application. The earliest historical records show that capital punishment was mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi in 1750 BC. The bible used death as a punishment for more than thirty different crimes, such as murder, rape, theft, adultery etc. In the 7th century B.C., an Athenian named Draco established a code of laws which became known for their terrible severity as punishments for crime. Their measures were so severe that they were said to be written in letters of blood. Under the Draconian Code of ancient Greece you would receive the death penalty for any offense committed.

There were some places that did not use the death penalty such as England while under the rule of King Canute and William the Conqueror. However they may not have had the death penalty, but the interrogation and torture were often fatal.

"By the end of the 15th century, English law recognized seven major crimes: treason , murder, larceny (grand and petty), burglary, rape and arson. By 1800, more than 200 capital crimes were recognized, and as a result , 1000 or more persons were sentenced to death each year. (Encarta 95, Capital Punishment). Unfortunately, the courts' historically brought on the application of the death penalty for many, relatively minor, criminal convictions, which brought capital punishment into disrepute, and gave abolitionists a wide basis from which to condemn it. Canada had capital punishment until 1976,