RITES OF EXECUTION Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865

Author: Masur (Louis P.)
Year: 1989
Publisher: OUP (New York)
Edition Details: 1st US Edn.
Book Condition: NrF/F
ISBN: 0195048997
Price: 15.00
IN STOCK NOW
Hardback. 1st US edn. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Western societies abandoned public executions in favour of private punishments, primarily confinement in penitentiaries and private executions. The transition, guided by a reconceptualisation of the causes of crime, the nature of authority, and the purposes of punishment, embodied the triumph of new sensibilities and the reconstitution of cultural values throughout the Western world. This study examines the conflict over capital punishment in the United States and the way it transformed American culture between the Revolution and the Civil War. Relating the gradual shift in rituals of punishment and attitudes toward discipline to the emergence of a middle class culture that valued internal restraints and private punishments, The author traces the changing configuration of American criminal justice. He examines the design of execution day in the Revolutionary era as a spectacle of civil and religious order, the origins of organised opposition to the death penalty and the invention of the penitentiary, the creation of private executions, reform organisations' commitment to social activism, and the competing visions of humanity and society lodged at the core of the debate over capital punishment. A fascinating and thoughtful look at a topic that remains of burning interest today. Illus., epilogue, Notes and Index. 208pp. 8vo. h/back. Nr. F. in F. dw. designed by Joy Taylor.

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