A Survey of the History of the Death Penalty in the United States

Sheherezade C. Malik *

Paul Holdsworth **

Since the founding of Jamestown Colony in 1607, few topics in American life and culture have generated as much controversy, both in terms of persistence and volatility, as the death penalty. Foreign policy, economic recessions, and social movements come to the forefront of national discussion in their own respective ebbs and flows. Capital punishment, however, has been a staple of the American criminal justice system since the early inhabiting of the continent, and has remained a permanent vehicle through which we can enact retribution on the most heinous criminal offenders in our society, ridding ourselves of the worst among us.

Continue reading.


 

* J.D. Candidate 2015, University of Richmond School of Law. B.A., 2012, University of Pennsylvania. I would like to thank the University of Richmond Law Review staff and editors for their assistance in the multiple drafts of this article. I would also like to thank Haven Ogbagiorgis for her valuable feedback and support throughout the writing process. Most importantly, I would like to thank my family—my brother, Ehsan, and my parents, Muneer and Victoria Malik—for their unstinted support and unconditional love, and for making my dreams their own.

** J.D. Candidate 2015, University of Richmond School of Law. B.A., 2012, Brigham Young University. I would like to thank the entire staff of the University of Richmond Law Reveiw for their work on this essay, and for making this year’s Allen Chair Symposium and Issue a success. Of course, every personal acheivement in my life would not be possible without the unwavering support of my wife, Claire.