Death Penalty Past and Present

Essay by mperham814College, UndergraduateA, July 2008

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The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, has been around since the early Eighteenth century B.C. Since then the crimes punishable by death has decreased dramatically. The death penalty has been used by countries around the world. The punishment of death has also affected all classes of society from royalty to poverty. The method of the death penalty has also changed with the time. There have been such methods from boiling to hanging to the common choice of method of lethal injection.

History of the Death PenaltyThe death penalty was first noted to be used in history by the use of King Hammaurabi of Babylon in the Eighteenth Century. At the time, there were 25 crimes punishable by death. "In the Seventh Century B.C.'s Draconian Code of Athens, which made death the only punishment for all crimes" ((Death Penalty Information Center, ¶1). By the Fifth Century B.C.,

there were only twelve laws punishable by death in Rome; at this time, "death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement" (D.P.I.C., ¶2). In the Tenth Century, William the Conqueror reserved the death penalty was only to be used in a time of war. By the Sixteenth Century King Henry VIII executed thousands of people. At this time, many of the methods were still much the same such as hanging; some methods had changed such as boiling, beheading, burning at the stake, and drawing and quartering. By the 1700's Britain had 222 crimes that were punishable by the death penalty. At the end of 1837, only 122 of the 222 crimes that were still punishable by death. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2008)Death Penalty in the United StatesUse of the death penalty in America was greatly influenced by Britain...