The majority of Americans have a clear and strong stance when it comes to the death penalty, no matter which side of the debate they sit on. Supporters of this punishment argue that it serves as a deterrent to crime, and that justice is being served. My personal stance on the death penalty is that it is an outdated and ineffective punishment, serving no true benefit to society and causing more harm than good to society as a whole.
When looking at the argument that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to others thinking about committing the same crime, we need only look to other countries around the world as examples to disprove this. Throughout the world, we are able to see that, in those countries where there is no death penalty, murders and other violent crimes happen at a much lower rate than in the United States. It does seem counter-intuitive, but the evidence is clear.
We can also clearly see that, in the United States, many people still commit these horrendous crimes, knowing full well that capital punishment exists. In the heat of the moment, when a person is not thinking clearly and logically, the existence of the death penalty and the possibility that they could be facing this punishment does not typically cross their mind, and cause them to alter their behavior. The consequences of their actions are not at the forefront of their minds while they’re in the midst of carrying out those actions. We can see this in the consistent, and increasing, number of violent crimes being committed year after year in this country.
There have also been widely publicised cases of wrongly convicted individuals, who were either put to death or were awaiting their punishment, that were revealed to be innocent. In the cases where the death penalty had already been carried out, it was too late for those innocent people. And, in the cases where innocence was discovered in time, we can only be thankful that it wasn’t too late. There are definitely cases of people being wrongly accused and convicted, and for each case that’s brought to light, we must keep in mind that there are likely more that we’ve never – and will never – hear about. Having even one innocent person put to death wrongly is a crime unto itself.
We must also look at the mental competence of the individuals being convicted and sentenced to this punishment. If a person is not mentally capable of processing and understanding the actions they have committed, it is ethically wrong to execute them for this.
When looking at the ethics of capital punishment, it’s also essential to assess whether or not it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. There have been advancements in the technologies being used to enact the death penalty that are designed to lessen the pain and suffering a person endures. But, in reality, the only individuals who can attest to their effectiveness are those being executed. We cannot say for certain whether or not someone suffered unduly while they were being executed, whether everything worked as it should to ensure a quick and painless death.
And, yes, there are those who will argue that a death marked by pain and suffering is a part of the justice being served. But, as we try to hold ourselves as a nation to a higher standard than our worst criminals, we should at the very least allow our justice system to work as it should, according to the Supreme Court. And, nowhere in history has the Supreme Court ever advocated for the use of cruel and unusual punishment. We would like to think that we have more compassion and humanity than those who have committed such horrendous crimes, and as such, we should demonstrate this by showing them the humanity they denied someone else, not by sinking to their level.
The argument for or against the death penalty has been passionately argued throughout our nation’s history, with each side having their own strong viewpoints. When we look at the evidence from around the world on the effectiveness of capital punishment as a deterrent, as well as the ethical dilemma of potentially executing innocent or mentally incompetent individuals, it is easy to see that the practice of capital punishment offers no benefits to our society.
Argumentative essays are not fun. At least, not as fun as descriptive essays and admission essays, when you simply have to talk in a beautiful manner about something, someone or yourself. When it comes to other types of essays, you need to follow a string of rules to make it meet academic standards. Aren’t you already bored to death? Because we are. But don’t worry, years of painful experience in writing forced us to develop a set of tricks which will help you create any kind of essay, even something as difficult as a death penalty argumentative essay.
Why did we say that argumentative essays on the death penalty are difficult? We are neither trying to scare nor discourage you before you have started, we just want to prepare you. Beware of argumentative essays because:
1) You need a plan.
Yes, we know that you have heard about the importance of an outline in academic writing more than a trillion times. It is especially important when your assignment is a death penalty argumentative essay. It will help you to make your paper clearly structured and you won’t miss any of the arguments and examples, as you need a lot of them. Usually, it is three claims with two or three examples of supporting evidence, not to mention opposing opinions (about three as well). It’s quite easy to get lost unless you have a great outline.
2) You need to follow the plan.
Okay, sarcasm aside, writing an outline and following it are actually two different things. And students usually fail at the second one as you have probably guessed. The first time it may be difficult because our minds are designed to wander and jump from one topic to another. To make it easier, print your outline and put it in front of your eyes to check each time you start to think or write about something off the topic – that helps a lot. Soon you will get accustomed to this, and writing according to a plan will become a useful habit.
3) You need arguments.
This is one of the trickiest parts. Most students don’t understand why they just can’t express their own opinion as an argument. For sure, what you do is express your point of view in an essay, but you need to refer to works and ideas of other people to prove your point of view. The reason for that is you can’t say “this is so because I said” in a scientific paper. You need to show that your opinion is derived from the theories of other scientists.
The Writing Process
Introduction: Forget about the infamous first line – “In this essay, the problem of the death penalty will be addressed.” Though it is true that the argumentative essay is one of the most formal kinds of essays, you don’t want to make your reader fall asleep at the first line, right? He or she should at least make it to the second paragraph! Which means that you need a hook – an intriguing starting phrase that will catch your reader’s attention.
Then, you should give a quick background of the wide problem you are describing, which is punishment and crime in the case of a death penalty argument essay, and proceed to your thesis. This is an important part, so turn on all the attention reserves you have. You need to think carefully before you decide on your thesis because you are going to defend it in the rest of the paper. So think carefully before making a choice, and if something doesn’t seem right, maybe you have picked an opinion which doesn’t suit you.
Body: This is the part where you have to pull out all of your arguments, examples and other people’s opinions to support your thesis. And then, after you’ve managed to convince EVERYBODY that you are right and a dozen scientists think that, for example, mushrooms are animals, you have to mention arguments of the people who claim the opposite. That seems weird, but that’s science. You will get used to it soon.
Don’t forget to organize your death penalty argument essay using the outline you’ve created, a lack of coherence in your argument costs a lot of points. The most effective and simple outline looks like this:
Thesis (in the introduction part)
Claim 1 (My thesis is true because A)
Claim 2 (My thesis is true also because of B)
Opposing Argument 1
Feel free to add more examples, but stay reasonable: if you list 20 cases and 5 supporting quotes, your readers will be rather overwhelmed than interested. Here’s a little psychological trick for you: provide less opposing arguments than supportive claims. This way, you will make your readers fill that your opinion is stronger and, therefore, right.
Conclusion: This is the easiest part of every essay, yet somehow it causes the most confusion. Once you have hooked your reader by a creative introduction, stated your thesis, supported it with evidence and found opposing arguments, all you need to do is repeat key points in the conclusion.
Argumentative essays on the death penalty come to an end in the conclusion, so there’s no need to invent new things and add other supporting arguments. This is one of the most common mistakes students made in essay writing, and it’s pretty explainable. Restating your previous claims seems suspiciously easy, and students are afraid to do so because they know that the conclusion is one of the most important parts of an essay. Well, now you know that you can relax, restate your claim, put your main arguments in a list of bullet points and add a little suggestion on future studies of the topic for your readers.
Share your ideas on essay writing in the comments section below. We are always looking forward to a fresh approach!