Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders’ Eighth Amendment

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9781555537166: Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders’ Eighth Amendment
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The conventional wisdom is that the founders were avid death penalty supporters. In this fascinating and insightful examination of America’s Eighth Amendment, law professor John D. Bessler explodes this myth and shows the founders’ conflicting and ambivalent views on capital punishment. Cruel and Unusual takes the reader back in time to show how the indiscriminate use of executions gave way to a more enlightened approach—one that has been evolving ever since. While shedding important new light on the U.S. Constitution’s “cruel and unusual punishments” clause, Bessler explores the influence of Cesare Beccaria’s essay, On Crimes and Punishments, on the Founders’ views, and the transformative properties of the Fourteenth Amendment, which made the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. After critiquing the U.S. Supreme Court’s existing case law, this essential volume argues that America’s death penalty—a vestige of a bygone era in which ear cropping and other gruesome corporal punishments were thought acceptable—should be declared unconstitutional.

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About the Author:

JOHN D. BESSLER is an associate professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Review:

“A searing indictment of capital punishment, this pioneering history of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause is destined to reframe America’s death penalty debate. As a definitive account of the Eighth Amendment’s origins and the Founding Fathers’ own ambivalent views on executions, it will forever change our perceptions of cruelty and penal reform in the founding era. This book, which exposes the brutality of state-sanctioned killing, is a must-read.” (Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions)

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9781555538255: Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders’ Eighth Amendment

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ISBN 10:  1555538258 ISBN 13:  9781555538255
Publisher: Northeastern, 2013
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Book Description Northeastern. Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Hardcover - This indispensable history of the Eighth Amendment and the foundersí views of capital punishment is also a passionate call for the abolition of the death penalty based on the notion of cruel and unusual punishment A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Veteran Owned Bookshop in business since 1992!. Seller Inventory # 2811012

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