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Other titles in the Primary Documents in American History & Contemporary Issues series:
Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History (Primary Documents in American History & Contemporary Issues)
Synopses & Reviews
Both sides of the highly charged capital punishment debate in the United States are examined in this breakthrough collection of 112 key documents, arranged by historical period. The political and social aspects of the debate are represented through a wide range of documents, including congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, position papers, biographical accounts, and news stories. An explanatory introduction precedes each document to help readers understand how various and seemingly unrelated social, economic, and political factors have impacted public attitudes, legislation, and judicial decisions pertaining to capital punishment.
Vila and Morris provide us with the historical and ecological framework in which this centuries-old debate has unfolded. This volume is organized into six parts, each one representing a different time period: Colonial Era to Independence, 1800-1917, 1918-1959, 1960-1976, 1977-1989, and the 1990s. The documents provided in each part trace the history and development of the debate, chronicling the ebb and flow of support for the death penalty during different periods in our country's history. Special attention is paid to the effects of particular events in history—the American Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights movement, for example—on the ever-changing opinions concerning capital punishment. The representation of both sides of the debate found in these documents will encourage and challenge students, policymakers, and concerned citizens to examine their own viewpoints and draw their own conclusions on the capital punishment debate.
Book News Annotation:
Examines political and social aspects of both sides of the capital punishment debate through historical documents from the colonial period to the 1990s, including congressional hearings, position papers, biographical accounts, Supreme Court decisions, and news stories. Documents are preceded by an introduction which explores how social economic and political factors have impacted public attitudes, legislation, and judicial decisions.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A breakthrough collection of key documents in the history of the capital punishment debate in the United States.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -325) and index.
About the Author
BRYAN VILA is Associate Professor in the Administration of Justice Program at the University of Wyoming.CYNTHIA MORRIS is a freelance writer based in Irvine, California.
Table of Contents
Significant Dates in the History of Capital Punishment
Early Views on Capital Punishment: Colonial Era to Independence
The Abolition Movement Gains Ground, 1800-1917
War and Economic Depression Overshadow Capital Punishment, 1918-1959
Capital Punishment in the Courts, 1960-1976
The Debate Begins Anew, 1977-1989
The Death Penalty in the 1990s: Contemporary Issues
Appendix A: Federal and State Capital Offenses in the United States
Appendix B: U.S. Executions: Colonial Times to 1995
Appendix C: Selected U.S. Supreme Court Cases
Appendix D: Capital Punishment Interest Groups and Related Organizations
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