Capital Punishment Facts
Death penalty, also referred to as capital punishment, is a term used for describing the act of depriving a person of life or putting him to death either to ensure that he cannot commit crimes in the future or as a retribution act, after legal system judgment. The term capital punishment comes from the Latin word capitalis which means head. It describes the fact that capital punishment historically involved losing the head of a person. At some point, most countries have historically made use of the death penalty. However, in these modern times, it is only practiced by minority of nations.
Learning about capital punishment facts can make someone aware of its advantages and disadvantages. The capital punishment is often used as a topic of debates in the countries which still practice it including the United States.
Several religious ideologies are in conflict with the death penalty and numerous ethical philosophical theories in the modern world are also opposed to this practice. There is no country in Europe that practices capital punishment as it is prohibited by the European Union’s Article Two of Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The earliest use of capital punishment was usually for penal purposes. For that reason, the used methods for putting individuals to death were terrifying. These include burning or flaying them alive, quartering and drawing them. These horrifying methods were common among several countries or in Medieval Europe. Nevertheless, in the late eighteenth century, a movement started towards humane penalties.
As a result, the development of the guillotine in France took place, hanging in several countries was altered from strangling individuals to death to breaking their necks. In addition, the United States of America was led to the invention of both the lethal injection and the electric chair which are not as horrifying as the old methods.
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Consistently, there have been various movements throughout the world which aim to abolish the capital punishment. In fact, many different cultures have abolished this practice a long time ago. For example, Chine abolished the capital punishment during the mid- eighteenth century but restored it after twelve years.
In the fourteenth century, a public statement was made in England to argue against the practice, even though England would never abolish it until 1973. An Italian author named Cesare Beccaria, in the mid- eighteenth century, wrote a treatise entitled ‘On Crimes and Punishment’. This written work was opposed to the capital punishment for both practical and moral reasons. It would create a great impact on many rulers of the world including Hapsburg’s Grand Duke Leopold II who decided to outlaw the practice in his own lands.
In the late nineteenth century, there were some nations that started to abolish the practice. These include Roman Republic, Portugal, San Marino and Venezuela which banned the capital punishment from 1849 to 1867. In several Western nations, a general abolishment was seen between 1970s and 1980s. In 1976, 1981 and 1985, Canada, France and Australia abolished the practice respectively. The United Nations released a resolution which states that widely abolishing the practice would be good.
More than sixty percent of the population of the world lives under the threat of capital punishment. This holds true even though most countries in the world have declared the death penalty as illegal. This is due to the fact that the world’s most populous nations are still practicing it like China, the United States, India and Indonesia. Reading more capital punishment facts, apart from the aforementioned ones, will help you realize why many countries are still practicing the death penalty when in fact, the majority has abolished it a long time ago.