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Imprisoned by the PastWarren McCleskey and the American Death Penalty$
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Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199967933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199967933.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

The First Limits

The First Limits

The Early American Death Penalty through the 1850s

(p.43) Chapter 4 The First Limits
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

The foundation for Warren McCleskey’s death sentence began in the early years of American history. This chapter provides an overview of early American death penalty history, beginning with the earliest settlers who brought capital punishment with them. Many of the country’s founders, though, raised concerns about wide use of the death penalty, and eventually in the mid-nineteenth century, three states abolished capital punishment. The friction between those who support capital punishment and those who wish to abolish it has led to a fluctuating sequence of abolishments and reinstatements. This chapter discusses historical trends relating to public executions, death penalty abolition periods, the impact of individual cases, fluctuating death penalty popularity, changing execution methods, and capital sentencing procedures.

Keywords:   death penalty history, American history, founders, public executions, abolition, capital punishment, execution methods, executions, settlers

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