Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders' Eighth Amendment

Overview

The conventional wisdom is that the Founders were avid death penalty supporters. In his new book, law professor John D. Bessler exposes that myth and shows the Founders' conflicting and ambivalent views on capital punishment. He takes the reader back in time to show how the indiscriminate use of executions gave way to a more enlightened approach--one that has been evolving ever since. He explores the influence of Cesare Beccaria's influential essay, On Crimes and Punishments, on the Founders' views, and the ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $21.65   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   
Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders' Eighth Amendment

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$18.99
BN.com price
(Save 34%)$28.99 List Price

Overview

The conventional wisdom is that the Founders were avid death penalty supporters. In his new book, law professor John D. Bessler exposes that myth and shows the Founders' conflicting and ambivalent views on capital punishment. He takes the reader back in time to show how the indiscriminate use of executions gave way to a more enlightened approach--one that has been evolving ever since. He explores the influence of Cesare Beccaria's influential essay, On Crimes and Punishments, on the Founders' views, and the transformative properties of the Fourteenth Amendment, which made the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, and he sheds important new light on the U.S. Constitution's "cruel and unusual punishments" clause. After critiquing the U.S. Supreme Court's existing case law, the author argues that America's death penalty--a vestige of a bygone era in which ear cropping and other corporal punishments were once thought acceptable--should be declared unconstitutional.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[E]xcellent history. . . . So how does a society that shed many of its old cruelties — slavery, floggings, lynchings, executions of the criminally insane — still cling to the ultimate punishment? This is what Mr. Bessler's book seeks to answer, and in so doing, it argues persuasively that the death penalty, infested with randomness and bias, is a violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments."—Baltimore Sun

“Bessler offers a thought-provoking examination of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” in the ongoing debate over the constitutionality of capital punishment. . . . As a starting point for reasoned discourse, this is a remarkably thorough, compelling achievement. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

“Cruel and Unusual provides a wealth of interesting information.” —Journal of American History

“Bessler sees three paths to abolition: legislative repeal, judicial abolition, and disuse, and maintains that all three are presently at work, and that it is just a matter of time before the United States decides, like Justice Harry Blackmun did prior to his retire- ment from the Supreme Court, that it “shall no longer tinker with the machinery of death.”—Political Science Quarterly

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555537166
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,026,710
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN D. BESSLER is an associate professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction In Cold Blood On Crimes and Punishments The Abolitionists America's Founding Fathers The Eighth Amendment Capital Punishment in America The Road to Abolition Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)