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Executing Freedom – The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States | Chicago Scholarship Online
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Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States

Daniel LaChance

Abstract

In the latter half of the twentieth century, Americans imagined the death penalty in ways that reflected and reinforced broader shifts in the nation's cultural and political landscape. As the core constituency of an insurgent New Right, white, middle class Americans became increasingly disenchanted with the welfare state and embraced more libertarian understandings of freedom, one in which the state refused to engage in social engineering and instead returned to its first duty: to maintain order. The death penalty was symptomatic of a state that was returning to fundamentals. The left, however ... More

Keywords: capital punishment, death penalty, freedom, executions, vigilantism, American political culture, rehabilitation, distrust of government, libertarianism, retribution

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780226066691
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226066721.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Daniel LaChance, author
Emory University