The recent reinstatement of the federal death penalty by the U.S. Justice Department has brought scrutiny back to the practice of capital punishment. The Onion looks back at the history of capital punishment in the United States.


1200 BCE:

God sets precedent for capital punishment by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.


1790:

First inmate in the U.S. executed under what is hastily decided to be the federal death penalty.

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1790s-1810s:

Majority of federal executions issued for those convicted of riding their horse sidesaddle on a Sunday while wearing a brimmed hat.

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1839:

Baseball invented to find use for massive stadiums built for watching public executions after they fall out of favor.

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1890:

Government finally figures out how to use Thomas Edison’s advances in electricity to kill people.

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1913:

Last batch of sodium thiopental produced by The Coca-Cola Company.


1953:

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg’s body doubles become first American civilians executed for espionage.

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1996:

Holy shit, Delaware hanged a guy? That can’t be right.


2009:

Jesus Christ, does anyone in the building know how to find a vein?!


2019:

More states hoping to move past legacy of executing mentally ill people by letting cops kill them first.

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