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Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865


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Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, Western societies abandoned public executions in favor of private punishments, primarily confinement in penitentiaries and private executions. The transition, guided by a reconceptualization of the causes of crime, the nature of authority, and the purposes of punishment, embodied the triumph of new ...

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