|The Death Penalty
On July 2, 1976, almost two hundred years since the United States of America passed the Declaration of Independence, the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment (Appendix 1). Capital punishment, however, began long before this. In 1622 Daniel Frank, of the Colony of Virginia, was lawfully executed for the crime of theft. Since then there have been an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 people lawfully executed (Espy pp.194). In the eighteenth century, England would punish by death for crimes such as pick pocketing and petty theft. After the 1650's colonist could be put to death for denying the true god or cursing their parents advocates.
Capital punishment has clashed for a long time in the forum of public opinion in state legislatures and most recently in courts. In 1972, the case of Furman vs. Georgia (Appendix 1) reached the supreme court. The court decided that punishment by death did indeed violate the Eighth Amendment and the prohibition against "cru...