In this Book

Cruel and Unusual
buy this book Buy This Book in Print
summary
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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. contents
  2. p. 10
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. acknowledgments
  2. pp. 12-15
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 18-28
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter One In Cold Blood
  2. pp. 29-47
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter Two On Crimes and Punishments
  2. pp. 48-82
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter Three The Abolitionists
  2. pp. 83-113
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter Four America’s Founding Fathers
  2. pp. 114-178
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter Five The Eighth Amendment
  2. pp. 179-238
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter Six Capital Punishment in America
  2. pp. 239-281
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter Seven The Road to Abolition
  2. pp. 282-355
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 356-365
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. notes
  2. pp. 366-421
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. bibliography
  2. pp. 422-433
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 434-473
  3. restricted access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.