Executions were carried out for such capital offenses as marrying a Jew, not confessing to a crime, and treason.The number of capital crimes in Britain continued to rise throughout the next two centuries.The death penalty was also part of the Fourteenth Century B. C.'s Draconian Code of Athens, which made death the only punishment for all crimes; and in the Fifth Century B. Death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. D., hanging became the usual method of execution in Britain.
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Rush gained the support of Benjamin Franklin and Philadelphia Attorney General William Bradford. In 1794, Pennsylvania repealed the death penalty for all offenses except first degree murder.
(Bohm, 1999; Randa, 1997; and Schabas, 1997) Nineteenth Century In the early to mid-Nineteenth Century, the abolitionist movement gained momentum in the northeast.
(Randa, 1997) Britain influenced America's use of the death penalty more than any other country.
When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice of capital punishment.
The first recorded execution in the new colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608. In 1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and Martial Laws, which provided the death penalty for even minor offenses such as stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians.
Laws regarding the death penalty varied from colony to colony.
In the early part of the century, many states reduced the number of their capital crimes and built state penitentiaries.
In 1834, Pennsylvania became the first state to move executions away from the public eye and carrying them out in correctional facilities.
The electric chair was introduced at the end of the century. had just entered World War I and there were intense class conflicts as socialists mounted the first serious challenge to capitalism.
New York built the first electric chair in 1888, and in 1890 executed William Kemmler. (Randa, 1997) Early and Mid-Twentieth Century Although some states abolished the death penalty in the mid-Nineteenth Century, it was actually the first half of the Twentieth Century that marked the beginning of the "Progressive Period" of reform in the United States. S., as citizens began to panic about the threat of revolution in the wake of the Russian Revolution. As a result, five of the six abolitionist states reinstated their death penalty by 1920.
(Bohm, 1999) During the Civil War, opposition to the death penalty waned, as more attention was given to the anti-slavery movement.