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    History of Nat Turner Nat Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was an American slave owned by Benjamin Turner who led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia o...

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definition

From New World Encyclopedia:

Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for the most serious crimes—known as capital crimes. The word "capital" is derived from the Latin capitalis, which means "concerning the head"; therefore, to be subjected to capital punishment means (figuratively) to lose one's head. The death penalty when meted out according to law is quite different from murder, which is committed by individuals for personal ends. Nevertheless, human life has supreme value. Regimes that make prolific use of capital punishment, especially for political or religious offenses, violate the most important human right—the right to life.

10th of October is European Day against the Death Penalty.


background notes

From History of the death penalty:

The first death sentence historically recorded occurred in 16th Century BC Egypt where the wrongdoer, a member of nobility, was accused of magic, and ordered to take his own life. During this period non-nobility was usually killed with an ax.

In the 5th Century BC, the Roman Law of the Twelve Tablets codified the death penalty. Again, the death penalty was different for nobility, freemen and slaves and was punishment for crimes such as the publication of libels and insulting songs, the cutting or grazing of crops planted by a farmer, the burning [of] a house or a stack of corn near a house, cheating by a patron of his client, perjury, making disturbances at night in the city, willful murder of a freeman or a parent, or theft by a slave.

The most notorious death execution in BC was about 399 BC when the Greek philosopher Socrates was required to drink poison for heresy and corruption of youth.

Mosaic Law codified many capital crimes. In fact, there is evidence that Jews used many different techniques including stoning, hanging, beheading, crucifixion (copied from the Romans), throwing the criminal from a rock, and sawing asunder.

The most infamous execution of history occurred approximately 29 AD with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ outside Jerusalem.

About 300 years later, the Emperor Constantine, after converting to Christianity, abolished crucifixion and other cruel death penalties in the Roman Empire. In 438, the Code of Theodosius made more than 80 crimes punishable by death.

The first recorded execution in the English American colonies was in 1608 when officials executed George Kendall of Virginia for supposedly plotting to betray the British to the Spanish.

The first great reform era occurred between 1833-1853. Public executions were attacked as cruel. Sometimes tens of thousands of eager viewers would show up to view hangings; local merchants would sell souvenirs and alcohol. Fighting and pushing would often break out as people jockeyed for the best view of the hanging or the corpse!


current practice

From Wikipedia:

36 countries actively practice capital punishment, 103 countries have completely abolished it de jure for all crimes, 6 have abolished it for ordinary crimes only (while maintaining it for special circumstances such as war crimes), and 50 have abolished it de facto (have not used it for at least ten years and/or are under moratorium).


Methods of execution

Methods of execution have varied over time, and include:

See also

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