The death penalty in the United States
Table of Contents
Death penalty is allowed in the United States of America, more so the individuals convicted with capital offences, though it is not adopted by all the states, but rather, only 31 of them have adopted it, yet they use different methods of execution.
Death penalty is capital punishment that is applied to capital offenders in the United States of America, though not all the fifty-one states adopt it. It is imperative to note that death penalty is not the same as life imprisonment. In the former, the person convicted is exterminated, while on the later, he or she is kept in jail in his or her entire life. The study employs the qualitative approach to collect, organize and interpret data for the information of the findings and recommendations to address the readers.
Concepts and Methodology (a brief summary of these with definitions and their applications)
As captured in the introduction, there is a clear difference between death penalty and life imprisonment. In the United States of America, death penalty is legal, but not in all the states. Some allow it, while others illegalise it. The main method of data collection and interpretation involves literature review. Most of the ideas presented in the study are informed by the findings of other scholars, but inherently, all the ideas drawn from other scholars are properly acknowledged and referenced. This is done in tandem with intellectual property requirements that abolishes the application of other people’s thoughts in a research without acknowledging them
First main argument
Even though death penalty is not universally accepted in all states equally, the United States of America is considered as one of the leading countries to accept it. According to the existing information, the country started actively adopting the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia’s case.
Sub-point a. Supporting material/evidence
As is indicated in the article, there are states that do not accept the death penalty, but something equally important to reiterate is that there are different execution methods employed in the death penalty.
Second main argument
Many arguments exist trying to examine the death penalty. For example, the religious groups believe that God is the sole giver and taker of life, and that nobody should preside over the death of another.
Sub-point a. Supporting material/evidence
It is worth noting that the reason behind the different positions of various states in regard to death penalty is informed by religious, cultural, judicial and political arguments
Third main argument
The death penalty cases had been active in the United States of America, but later years show a reduction of the same.
Sub-point a. Supporting material/evidence
It is critically important to appreciate the fact that the death penalty, even though is driving different debates with varied opinions, it has been in existence to the people deemed very dangerous to the society.
The research indicates that death penalty in the United States of America is legal yes, but it is not universally adopted by the different states. As 31 states accept it, the remaining 20 are reluctant to apply it. In addition, there exist various methods of execution.
Overview of How the Paper Will Be Organized
This is a research proposal presented to indicate some of the processes that will be undertaken in doing a study about death penalty in the United States of America. Imperatively, it is imperative to understand that death penalty is only applicable in capital offences. In the United States of America, each state has its own way of dealing with different cases. It is true that not all the 51 states apply death penalty, though 31 states have been applying it (Bohm 12). The study seeks to examine some of the factors that inform the differences in the different states as far as the death penalty is concerned. Some of the methods of executing death penalty include hanging, lethal injection, shooting, gas chamber, and electrocution among others. The study will investigate various pieces of literature to inform the findings and recommendations presented in the study. There will be a clear introduction, which informs the readers about the whole concept, which is then followed by various informative studies on the subject matter, to investigate the death penalty in the United States of America.
Various research works will be investigated in this study to inform the findings in this study, which includes historical, historical and political opinions as far as the death penalty in the United States of America is concerned. As will be seen in the study itself, the various thinkers have differed standpoints, and this indeed informs why various states regard it differently. Because the research method chosen for the study involves literature review, it is imperative to highlight some of the important concepts posited by different thinkers. Therefore, the following resources are considered important in organizing the research itself.
Banner, Stuart, and Stuart Banner. The death penalty: An American history. Harvard University Press, 2009.
The duo starts their studies by examining some of the historical facts concerning death penalty in the United States of America. In their information, the English colonialists who employed it to deal with various crimes around seventeenth and eighteenth century introduced the death penalty in U.S. They initiated this form of punishment to deal with offenses like treason, murder, arson, manslaughter and burglary among other crimes. However, Banner and Banner state that the colonial government was so harsh and could execute people even on minor offenses. The two scholars similarly make an indication that that is when the country borrowed the idea of death penalty, but today only applies it on capital offenses. They confirm that the judicial system of the United States of America organize crimes in hierarchy indicating those which are so serious and those that are not. For example, murder is not considered with the same weight with theft.
Tonry, Michael. “Explanations of American punishment policies: A national history.” Punishment & Society 11.3 (2009): 377-394.
Tonry explores various ideas and faults the United States of America for placing severe punishments to offenders, yet the crimes continuously increase in every part of the country. He says that there is no conventional explanation over the same, and says that U.S is the leading nation in Europe that applies capital punishments in the offenders. He asks numerous questions about the American politics, religious views, constitution and the history of racism.
Lyons, William Bill Thomas, and Julie Drew. Punishing schools: Fear and citizenship in American public education. University of Michigan Press, 2009.
Lyons, Bill and Drew employ longitudinal studies to examine the different positions postulated by numerous thinkers in regards death penalty in the United States of America. The trio then employs various academic reasoning to examine the effects of capital punishments in the United States. They associate cultural differences with the harshness of the law on other people, and think that it is not applied squarely.
Prejean, Helen. Dead man walking: An eyewitness account of the death penalty in the United States. Vintage, 2011.
Prejean wrote a book, which used various themes to address the problem of death penalty among the people living in America, more so when they are found to have committed crimes considered capital. She employs the themes of love, criminal ferocity, as well as capital penalties. The writer uses various characters to explain the concept of capital punishment, alluding that the world is governed by cruelty instead of love and passion.
McCann, Stewart JH. “Societal threat, authoritarianism, conservatism, and US state death penalty sentencing (1977-2004).” Journal of personality and social psychology 94.5 (2008): 913.
The author examines the authoritarian dynamic theory and predicts that the number of death penalties would be higher in states threatened with the conservative views compared to the liberal states. McCann enumerates some of the threats to include political treason, violent crime rates among the others. He says that every political ideology and policy favors a particular philosophy in regards to dealing with capital offences.
Graham, Jesse, Jonathan Haidt, and Brian A. Nosek. “Liberals and conserv atives rely on different sets of moral foundations.” Journal of personality and social psychology 96.5 (2009): 1029.
The scholars expounds on the moral foundation theory and tries to scientifically prove the reasons that leads to the veracity that besides the harsh punishments on the capital offenders, some people still continue to engage on capital crimes. The triad group believe that a society grounded on moral justice would be better to govern, and thus lower cases of capital offences that necessitate death penalties.
Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones. Agendas and instability in American politics. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
In their study, Baumgartner and Jones study the political atmosphere in the United States and relate it to the capital offences on the United States of America. They equally believe that the political organization of various states inform their approaches to the issues of capital offences. This indicates that political philosophy and ideologies plays some greater role in the judicial dimensions.
- Banner, Stuart, and Stuart Banner. The death penalty: An American history. Harvard University Press, 2009.
- Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones. Agendas and instability in American politics. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
- Bohm, Robert M. Deathquest: An introduction to the theory and practice of capital punishment in the United States. Routledge, 2011.
- Graham, Jesse, Jonathan Haidt, and Brian A. Nosek. “Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations.” Journal of personality and social psychology 96.5 (2009): 1029.
- Lyons, William Bill Thomas, and Julie Drew. Punishing schools: Fear and citizenship in American public education. University of Michigan Press, 2009.
- McCann, Stewart JH. “Societal threat, authoritarianism, conservatism, and US state death penalty sentencing (1977-2004).” Journal of personality and social psychology 94.5 (2008): 913.
- Prejean, Helen. Dead man walking: An eyewitness account of the death penalty in the United States. Vintage, 2011.
- Tonry, Michael. “Explanations of American punishment policies: A national history.” Punishment & Society 11.3 (2009): 377-394.
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