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The Abolitionist Movement Comes Of Age: From Capital Punishment As A Lawful Sanction To A Peremptory, International Law Norm Barring Executions, John D. Bessler
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The anti-death penalty movement is rooted in the Enlightenment, dating back to the publication of the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria’s treatise, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764). That book, later translated into English as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1767), has inspired anti-death penalty advocacy for more than 250 years. This Article traces the development of the abolitionist movement since Beccaria’s time. In particular, it highlights how the debate over capital punishment has shifted from one focused primarily on the severity of monarchical punishments, to deterrence, to one framed by the concept of universal human rights, including ...