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Contradictions of American Capital Punishment

Contradictions of American Capital Punishment - 03 edition

ISBN13: 978-0195178203

Cover of Contradictions of American Capital Punishment 03 (ISBN 978-0195178203)
ISBN13: 978-0195178203
ISBN10: 0195178203
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 03
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published: 2003
International: No

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Contradictions of American Capital Punishment - 03 edition

ISBN13: 978-0195178203

Franklin E. Zimring

ISBN13: 978-0195178203
ISBN10: 0195178203
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 03
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Published: 2003
International: No
Summary

Why does the United States continue to employ the death penalty when fifty other developed democracies have abolished it? Why does capital punishment become more problematic each year? How can the death penalty conflict be resolved? In The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment, Frank Zimring reveals that the seemingly insoluble turmoil surrounding the death penalty reflects a deep and longstanding division in American values, a division that he predicts will soon bring about the end of capital punishment in our country. On the one hand, execution would seem to violate our nation's highest legal principles of fairness and due process. It sets us increasingly apart from our allies and indeed is regarded by European nations as a barbaric and particularly egregious form of American exceptionalism. On the other hand, the death penalty represents a deeply held American belief in violent social justice that sees the hangman as an agent of local control and safeguard of community values. Zimring uncovers the most troubling symptom of this attraction to vigilante justice in the lynch mob. He shows that the great majority of executions in recent decades have occurred in precisely those Southern states where lynchings were most common a hundred years ago. It is this legacy, Zimring suggests, that constitutes both the distinctive appeal of the death penalty in the United States and one of the most compelling reasons for abolishing it. Imprecably researched and engagingly written, The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment casts a clear new light on America's long and troubled embrace of the death penalty.

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

I Divergent Trends

1 The Peculiar Present of American Capital Punishment
2 More Than a Trend: Abolition in the Developed Nations
3 The Symbolic Transformation of American Capital Punishment

II Explaining the American Difference

4 Federalism and Its Discontents
5 The Vigilante Tradition and Modern Executions
6 The Consequences of Contradictory Values

III Capital Punishment in the American Future

7 The No-Win 1990s
8 The Beginning of the End

App. A Statistical Materials on Lynchings and Executions
App. B Reported Frequencies of National Death Penalty Policy, 1980 to 2001
App. C Death Row and Execution Statistics
App. D New Survey Analysis Materials
App. E Justified Killings by Citizens and Police, by State
App. F Review of Death Penalty Exoneration Data from the Death Penalty Information Center
References
Index

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