The death penalty or capital punishment as it is commonly referred to has been at the core of many heated debates in recent years. Capital punishment has been used by almost every culture in the world. Execution has been in existence almost as long as people have populated the earth and has been a topic of controversy ever since. From the Medieval dark ages of Europe to the present day United States, there have been those in favor and those against the death penalty. The Texas legal system needs to re-evaluate the way they process and convict their criminals and find an alternative to the death penalty.
The death penalty has been used through out history. No-where was this more apparent than in Medieval Europe. Some Europeans were executed because of treason, stealing, murder, prisoners of war, people believing they were witches and many other ridiculous reasons. The methods of execution vary from country to country and throughout history, from the cruel to the unusual executions was a public spectacle. Here are just a few of the methods of execution that were used throughout history. Beheading, burned at the stake, drawn and quartered, impaling, iron maiden, crucifixion, drowning, blown from a cannon, pendulum, pressing, sawing in half, disembowelment, starvation, stoning, dragging, throat slitting and the list goes on.
In the United States 5 methods of execution were and are used: lethal injection, electric chair, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad. The predominant method of execution was death by hanging. Hanging, was brought to America from England by the early settlers. In Texas as it is in the south hanging was an inexpensive, popular means of execution. Before 1923, Texas counties were responsible for their own executions; thereafter all executions were ordered to be carried out by the state in Huntsville. Pretty soon after that hanging fell out of favor in most places.