Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History

Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History

Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History

Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History


Both sides of the highly charged capital punishment debate in the United States are examined in this breakthrough collection of 112 key documents, arranged by historical period. The political and social aspects of the debate are represented through a wide range of documents, including congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, position papers, biographical accounts, and news stories. An explanatory introduction precedes each document to help readers understand how various and seemingly unrelated social, economic and political factors have impacted public attitudes, legislation, and judicial decisions pertaining to capital punishment.


This series is designed to meet the research needs of students, scholars, and other interested readers by making available in one volume the key primary documents on a given historical event or contemporary issue. Documents include speeches, debates and letters, congressional testimony, Supreme Court and lower court decisions, government reports, biographical accounts, position papers, statutes, and news stories.

The purpose of the series is twofold: (1) to provide substantive and background material on an event or issue through the text of pivotal primary documents that shaped policy or law, raised controversy, or influenced the course of events; and (2) to trace the controversial aspects of the event or issue through documents that represent a variety of viewpoints. Documents for each volume have been selected by a recognized specialist in that subject with the advice of a board of other subject specialists, school librarians, and teachers.

To place the subject in historical perspective, the volume editor has prepared an introductory overview and a chronology of events. Documents are organized either chronologically or topically. The documents are full text or, if unusually long, have been excerpted by the volume editor. To facilitate understanding, each document is accompanied by an explanatory introduction. Suggestions for further reading follow the document or the chapter.

It is the hope of Greenwood Press that this series will enable students and other readers to use primary documents more easily in their research, to exercise critical thinking skills by examining the key documents in American history and public policy, and to critique the variety of viewpoints represented by this selection of documents.

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