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capital punishment as a failed

            The death penalty has become one of the most publicized and controversial issues in society today. Since the winter of 1936, the debate over capital .
             punishment has swayed from great public support to meager numbers of .
             proponents. In December of 1936, the first scientific death penalty poll was .
             conducted and resulted in 61 percent of the populous "believe[d] in .
             the death penalty for murder" (Acker, 27). The poll measured public .
             sentiment about the death penalty in light of the exceptional media attention .
             given to the execution of Bruno Hauptman, the alleged Lindbergh-baby .
             kidnapper and murderer. Since this first capital punishment poll, there have .
             been many others. A poll in 1966 indicated an all-time low in capital .
             punishment approval ratings when support fell to 42 percent. Since then, .
             support of capital punishment in the United States has grown an average of .
             more than one percentage point a year. Surprisingly, in no year in which .
             capital punishment polls were conducted, has a majority of Americans opposed .
             the death penalty. .
             One outstanding question arises in light of America's acceptance of the death .
             penalty: how has the deliberate and planned killing of "criminals" become .
             such a desired and endorsed feature of our society? Public support for the .
             death penalty has remained high; however, by government standards, capital .
             punishment is regarded as cruel and unusual. The 8th Amendment to the .
             Constitution provides protection from such punishment declared cruel and .
             unusual. In the death penalty policy of 1890, only such things as "burning .
             by the stake, crucifixion, breaking on the wheel, or the like" were .
             prohibited. All of these things would definitely appear cruel and unusual to .
             people today, the list of overly harsh punishments was expanded in 1947, .
             after the electric chair failed to work twice in capital punishment .
             executions. It was banned from use and declared another form of cruel and .

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