Unit 7 Project on capitol punishment
Picture this, you are laying there in bed sleeping a peaceful sleep on what, at first glance , seems like just another night of pleasant slumber. All of a sudden though you wake up with a strange feeling of something is not right. You roll over to ask your wife if she was alright to realize that she is gone. You sit up frantically to see where she has gone only to realize she is standing in the doorway, but she is not alone. In fact she is being held by some stranger with a knife to her throat. The stranger tells you to stay where you are at or she will not live to see another day. Before you can even say a word he decides to cut her anyways and run off into the night leaving your beloved dead in the floor. You try to save her, but there truly is no hope, she is gone. Shortly after that the police pick up the intruder and take him to jail, where he awaits a trial. Now, as you sit there through his trial what thoughts would honestly be running through your mind? Probably like most other people you would be hoping for justice to be served and this criminal pay for ending the life of your lovely wife. The big question here is what would you as an individual consider to be justice served? Do you believe he should spend the rest of his life behind a locked prison cell door or do you believe that since he took a life, his should be taken? While this example was a little graphic it really makes you wonder how you would feel if ever put into this position. It places you right in the middle of one of the biggest and long lasting arguments in the United States history, whether we as humans have the right to take someone’s life if they take one. The death penalty argument is in fact always under constant debate and the people on both sides raise great points for why or why not we should have capital punishment. Before a person can truly decide whether they are for capital punishment though they must first understand it and see what its process has or has not achieved. The idea of retribution when one person wrongs another has been around since man first started creating societies. From the romans and Egyptians up through modern day history man has always in one form or another believed that for every crime committed an equal punishment is in order. The death penalty while not always having been called that has been right there amongst those same beliefs. Even from our earliest beginnings America has been right there with the rest using the idea of the death penalty in our law system. The earliest of American laws were still based on the British laws because our roots came from there and were really still just as harsh as them too (Random history, 2013). For example, in 1612, acts like stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians were to be known as capital crimes (Random history, 2013). Thus the crime rate was a lot lower not just because of population size , but because no one dared to challenge the law for fear of what might happen to them. Over time though as America began to separate itself from British rule it began to develop its own unique set of laws (Random history, 2013). This separation also changed their beliefs on how people should be treated by the laws that served America. They kept up a traditional belief that humankind was naturally depraved and not a product of environment, which meant that when you committed a crime you and you alone were responsible for that crime (Random history, 2013). As American legal codes became more evolved, certain patterns of punishment began to surface. The early northern colonies were more lenient than England for crimes against property, but much harsher in punishing crimes against morality(Random history, 2013) . The early southern colonies adopted English law without modifying it very much but also developed a subset of crimes that were punishable only if committed by blacks. The development of the Bill of Rights in 1791...
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