How do you feel about the saying, "an eye for an eye?” Do you feel that it is a good saying to run a nation by? Or do you agree with Gandhi who added to that statement, "--and everyone is blind?” There have been many controversies in the history of the United States, ranging from abortion to gun control; however, capital punishment has been one of the most hotly contested issues in recent decades. Capital Punishment is the execution of a criminal pursuant to a sentence of death imposed by a competent court. It is not intended to inflict any physical pain or any torture; it is only another form of punishment. This form of punishment is irrevocable because it removes those punished from society permanently, instead of temporarily imprisoning them, this is the best and most effective way to deal with criminals. The usual alternative to the death penalty is life-long imprisonment.
Capital punishment is a method of retributive punishment as old as civilization itself. The death penalty has been imposed throughout history for many crimes, ranging from blasphemy and treason to petty theft and murder. Many ancient societies accepted the idea that certain crimes deserved capital punishment. Ancient Roman and Mosaic Law endorsed the notion of retaliation; they believed in the rule of "an eye for an eye.” Similarly, the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, and Greeks all executed citizens for a variety of crimes. The most famous people who were executed were Socrates (Saunders 462) and Jesus. Only in England, during the reigns of King Canute (1016-1035; Hoyt 151) and William the Conqueror (1066-1087; Miller 259) was the death penalty not used, although the results of interrogation and torture were often fatal. Later, Britain reinstated the death penalty and brought it to its American colonies. Although the death penalty was widely accepted throughout the early United States, not everyone approved of it.