The Debate On Capital Punishment What act by the United States government kills almost a hundred people every year? The United States Department of Justice legally executes criminals who commit certain crimes. The crimes for which a person can be executed for are named Capital offenses, thus the name Capital Punishment. The debate over capital punishment originates in the seventeenth century and still continues today. Many different arguments shine throughout the debate which I will be reviewing both sides. Capital punishment has been in America since the early seventeenth century. The first recorded execution in America was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608. Crimes advocating capital punishment varied among settlements during the Colonial period. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, crimes such as witchcraft, rape, perjury, adultery, and murder warranted capital punishment. In the Quaker society, crimes such as treason and murder warranted capital punishment. In 1787, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, held a meeting at the home of Benjamin Franklin calling for an end to public executions. In the fall of 1787, Rush developed the Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons. The society was instrumental in the development of the prison system in the United States. In 1790 the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia was converted into the nation’s first modern prison. The emergence of the new prison system in the United States provided an alternate means of punishment for crimes. Rush was the first prominent American to publicly urge the abolition of capital punishment. Over the next two decades, prisons in the United States were constructed, and the number of crimes warranting capital punishment decreased considerably. Capital punishment in the United States has undergone many modifications since the early nineteenth century. Its use gradual…
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