Capital Punishment has been the ultimate consequence for criminals in the United States since before the nation was established. The Eighth Amendment in the Bill of Rights prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fourteenth Amendment in the Reconstruction Amendments requires due process of law before the taking of a life.
The original documents in these volumes review both the policies and principles of capital punishment that continue to evolve. Documents discussed in this volume include: A Further Account of the Tryals of the New-England Witches, send in a Letter from thence, to a Gentleman in London; The Eighth Amendment; The Fourteenth Amendment; and the Supreme Court decisions in Furman v. Georgia that ended the moratorium on capital punishment; Hall v. Florida, which concluded that IQ tests could not be used a a rigid guide in sentencing; and Glossip v. Gross, which ruled that the condemned has the burden of proof when challenging the constitutionality of the execution method.
Each in-depth chapter provides a thorough commentary and analysis of each primary source document, often reprinted in its entirety. Commentary includes a Summary, Overview, Defining Moment, Author Biography, Detailed Document Analysis, and discussion of Essential Themes.