(Bohm, 1999) During the Civil War, opposition to the death penalty waned, as more attention was given to the anti-slavery movement.
After the war, new developments in the means of executions emerged.
This introduction of sentencing discretion in the capital process was perceived as a victory for abolitionists because prior to the enactment of these statutes, all states mandated the death penalty for anyone convicted of a capital crime, regardless of circumstances.
With the exception of a small number of rarely committed crimes in a few jurisdictions, all mandatory capital punishment laws had been abolished by 1963.
The electric chair was introduced at the end of the century. had just entered World War I and there were intense class conflicts as socialists mounted the first serious challenge to capitalism.
New York built the first electric chair in 1888, and in 1890 executed William Kemmler. (Randa, 1997) Early and Mid-Twentieth Century Although some states abolished the death penalty in the mid-Nineteenth Century, it was actually the first half of the Twentieth Century that marked the beginning of the "Progressive Period" of reform in the United States. S., as citizens began to panic about the threat of revolution in the wake of the Russian Revolution. As a result, five of the six abolitionist states reinstated their death penalty by 1920.
Later, Rhode Island and Wisconsin abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Some states made more crimes capital offenses, especially for offenses committed by slaves.
Executions were carried out for such capital offenses as marrying a Jew, not confessing to a crime, and treason.