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Capital Punishment Sources Question

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Introduction

Capital Punishment Sources Question 1a Source A shows the execution of the gunpowder plotters against James I in 1605. As the plotters were commoners from lower classes they had been sentenced to the fare worse fate of being hanged, drawn, and quartered. This form of punishment had been introduced in the Middle Ages mainly for treason and had been used by Edward I against William Wallace of Scotland as a punishment for rebellion. During the time of the Tudors and Stuarts it had been revived, and was used mainly through the reigns of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles II. It meant that the accused be dragged to the gallows, as they were not worthy to walk on the ground given to them, he would then be hanged by the neck but cut down before whilst he was still conscious. One once tried to jump to break the neck but the rope broke causing him to be fully conscious during the next part: the accused would have parts cut off or dug out and burned in front of them. Then slashed from the crutch through to the chest their entrails taken out and burned as before in front of them, this was the part known as 'drawn' in the punishment. At this point in the execution the head would be cut off and the body would be cut in to four pieces and be at the kings disposal. 1b The plotters were treated differently depending on their social order. The punishment of being hanged drawn and quartered as a fare worse fate was often only used for commoners from lower classes. ...read more.

Middle

Though this case was a good one it was decided to keep public executions and made them more disgraceful rather than painful. This was done by refusing the relatives permission to provide a proper funeral instead the corpses were given to surgeons for them to examine another older method of disgrace was to display the hanging body in chains for weeks near to the spot of the crime or the criminals home. This was brought back as the lower classes did not consider simply being hanged as a disgrace but to hang in chains was a terrible horror. By mid 19th century the authorities minds began to change. There eyes were opened to the effects large crowds gathering in small streets could have. They created perfect opportunities for pick pockets and prostitutes and even armed robbers. Due to this point it was clear that crime was being increased by public executions this caused the government of Benjamin Disraeli to finally decided to remove executions from public view in 1868, they were at last carried out behind prison walls. When put out of the public view there was no need for the executions to be so horrific. Therefore a more humane method of hanging was brought in to use. A platform was added that could be quickly removed causing death to occur almost immediately by the breaking of the neck and not by the strangulation which had previously been used. 4 Attitudes towards capital punishment have changed greatly since the 18th century. Before the 18th century capital punishment was widely accepted as a day to day advent. It was something that the whole town would participate in. ...read more.

Conclusion

chair with his head, arms and legs bolted still he held his breath to shout 'I'm human' after two minutes he could only say human he spent the rest of his 16 minutes shaking and grunting on the floor until he finally died. Does this sound like a humane way to die? No I don't think it does. This is why there are 6 main reasons against brining back capital punishment 1 It is barbaric for the state to take a life in cold blood: this would be 'judicial murder'. 2 It would be a step backwards to bring back a punishment which has already been abolished. Why not bring back flogging and the pillory as well? 3 It would not deter terrorists. The IRA and other groups might become martyrs for their cause, and there would also be more public sympathy for them. 4 There is always a chance of a miscarriage of justice. As in the case of the Guilford Four and the Birmingham Six. 5 There is always the chance of rehabilitation, even for the worst offenders. 6 Apart from the United States, no other western power has capital punishment. The US has also had many controversies; one of these is the vast majority of those executed are poor or black. If capital punishment was such a great deterrence then how come America still has the same problems with crimes like murders, except they have a higher miscarriage of justice problem. When some one who is dead is proved innocent they can not just bring them back to life. Have they committed the same crime of cold-blooded murder, well they have ended a life for no reason. So should the jury or judge be executed? ...read more.

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