Few subjects are more controversial than capital punishment– an issue that has forced Americans, and people around the world, to confront fundamental questions about morality and the role of the state. This volume of Opinions Throughout History looks at the evolution of this debate within the context of major events in the history of American criminal justice, from the nation’s first execution, in the famed Jamestown Colony of Virginia, to the cells of America’s modern “death rows” in 2018, where more than 2,700 people await state execution.
Tracing this history through the courts, the legislature, and the academic, religious, and popular debates that have surrounded the issue, this volume will reveal how American ideas about execution have evolved and continue to change as the nation moves deeper into the new century. Each chapter includes a valuable introduction and conclusion, a bulleted list of topics covered, a reprint of a particularly significant primary or secondary source document, detailed analysis and commentary of that document, images and photographs, and discussion questions. The work also includes a Timeline, Glossary, Historical Snapshot, Bibliography, and Index.