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the anti-death penalty movement in the U.S. (as a form of contentious social movement)

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in criminology, law

The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in the United States

The anti-death penalty movement , i .e , the abolitionists , has more than 200 years of documented history in the United States . Though they never really gained the solid support of the people of the United States there have been periods when abolitionist thought represented at least half of the surveyed population . This would attempt to give a short documentation of abolitionist history in the United States

Herbert Haine divided the abolitionist history into four periods : 1 ) the two decades before the Civil War 2 ) the [banner_entry_middle]

turn of the century 3 ) the 1960 ‘s , when NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyers battled the death penalty on Constitutional grounds and 4 ) the years since 1976 , when the U .S Supreme Court ‘s decision in Gregg v . Georgia allowed executions to resume in America . For more a greater extension , I choose to follow the Death Penalty Information Center ‘s (DPIC ) divisions in its discussion of the abolitionist movement . DPIC divides the history of the abolition movement in three : the colonial times , the nineteenth century , and the early and mid-twentieth century . This chronological division gives space for a more liberal discussion on the developments that happened in the movement . It would also be much easier to incorporate Haine ‘s divisions into the DPIC division , than to do it vice-versa . After a discussion of these three periods , a discussion on the present abolitionist trends shall ensue . This discussion would roughly describe the present status of the abolitionists . It is in this discussion that Haine ‘s pragmatic abolitionism proves to be indispensable

Each period shall be looked upon based on the following indicators : the participants in the movement their activities networking between organizations , if such accounts are available and lastly , the underlying ethics of the organizations that may very well at the very least help define the spirit of the entire movement within the given period . We may also briefly state the acceptance (or the lack of it ) of such an ethic by the surveyed public . We would also briefly show how the movement dispersed internationally

THE COLONIAL TIMES

Death penalty was brought by the British in the United States . The earliest recorded capital punishment was in 1608 in Virginia , that of Captain George Kendall who was accused of spying for Spain (DPIC Apparently , abolitionist voices remained negligible until the time when American thinkers started being influenced by the Milanese political philosopher , Cesare , Marquis of Beccaria . It could be remembered that from the time of the publication of Beccaria ‘s treatise , On Crimes and Punishments ‘ in 1767 , it eventually influenced European politicians to reconsider abolishing the death penalty . The call for the abolition was hinged on the premise that capital punishment does not really deter crime because the impression it gives to the potential criminal is not lasting . Making hard criminals into perpetual slaves is a better deterrent for crimes since impressions are lasting . Exposure to slavery also has the added bonus of making citizens sensitive to suffering (Internet… [banner_entry_footer]

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