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William Kemmler - Consider The Following . . .

electric chair punishment execution

  • The electric chair replaced hanging as the preferred method of execution. Divide the class into two groups and debate the merits of both in regard to the Eighth Amendment banning cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Is the death penalty used in your state? If so, what are the capital punishment laws? How many executions have there been in the past twenty years and what means of execution was used?
  • At the end of the excerpt, two contrasting opinions were reported in the news article. What are they and which prevailed through time?

Coterie of cranks: Promoters of the electric chair.

Abyss: Bottomless depths.

Intricacy: Detail.

Dynamo: Electric generator.


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