Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
John F. Galliher
Unlike most industrialized nations that severely restrict or have banned the practice completely, the United States continues to use capital punishment. Despite international pressures, internal protests, and some compelling arguments against this practice, the United States remains the only industrialized democracy still executing prisoners. The death penalty was used widely in the ancient world. In the 18th century BCE, Babylon prescribed the death penalty for 25 crimes. Even the celebrated ancient democracy in Athens relied heavily on capital punishment in its legal code developed in the 7th century BCE. Roman law is well known for its executions, using various methods, including crucifixion. In England, during the reign of King Henry VIII in the 16th century, approximately 72,000 people were executed. In Britain during the 1700s, there were more than 20 crimes punishable by death, including many trivial property offenses. Because of this severity, juries often refused to convict many of ...