-The Penalty of Death -Written by H.L. Mencken, 1926.
-Thesis -The thesis of the essay is on page 395, and is the last sentence of paragraph 3. It states: "What I contend is that one of the prime objects of all judicial punishments is to afford the same grateful relief (a) to the immediate victims of the criminal punished, and (b) to the general body of moral and timorous men." -Means that in the authors point of view, one of the key points of punishing a criminal is to give some sense of relief to the victims, and even to the law-abiding public in general -This obviously implies that he is pro death penalty -Main Arguments/Points -To start the essay off, the author attacks two of the main arguments used by people who are against capital punishment. These points are clearly illustrated on page 394 in the first paragraph.
-The first one reads: Hanging a man (or frying him or gassing him) is a dreadful business, degrading to those who have to do it and revolting to those who have to witness it.
-He attacks this by saying it "?is plainly to weak to need serious refutation" -Basically saying this argument is not important enough to abolish the penalty?all it says is that the work of the hangman is unpleasant.
-Goes on by first stressing the unimportance of the statement by saying that other necessary jobs are also unpleasant such as that of the plumber, soldier etc.
-Then he falsifies it by saying that there is no evidence stating that hangmen complain of their work, and he knows many who delight in and are proud of their work -Second statement he attacks states: "[Capital punishment] is useless, for it does not deter others from the same crime".
-Attacks this by saying that people who state this wrongly conclude that this is the only reason why it is in effect -States that this is only one of at least a half dozen reasons why it is in effect.
-Then reaches main argument: why the death penalty is effective -Saying...