Lethal State

A History of the Death Penalty in North Carolina

Seth Kotch

ca. 90,94
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The University of North Carolina Press img Link Publisher

Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte


For years, American states have tinkered with the machinery of death, seeking to align capital punishment with evolving social standards and public will. Against this backdrop, North Carolina had long stood out as a prolific executioner with harsh mandatory sentencing statutes. But as the state sought to remake its image as modern and business-progressive in the early twentieth century, the question of execution preoccupied for lawmakers, reformers, and state boosters alike.
In this book, Seth Kotch recounts the history of the death penalty in North Carolina, from its colonial origins to the present. He tracks the attempts to reform and sanitize the administration of death in a state as dedicated to its image as it was to rigid racial hierarchies. Through this lens, Lethal State helps explain not only Americans' deep and growing uncertainty about the death penalty but also their commitment to it.
Kotch argues that Jim Crow justice continued to reign in the guise of a modernizing, orderly state, and offers essential insight into the relationship between race, violence, and power in North Carolina. The history of capital punishment in North Carolina, as in other states wrestling with similar issues, emerges as one of state-building through lethal punishment.

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Capital Punishment in North Carolina, the electric chair, Execution in North Carolina, lynching in the American South, racial disparities in death sentences, pain and suffering, death penalty custom, death penalty in the American South, lynching in North Carolina, execution rituals, victims of crime, hanging, lynching and the death penalty, mercy in the criminal justice system, death penalty law, criminal justice in North Carolina, execution methods, race and the death penalty, punishment for crime, racial disparities in commutations, clemency for capital crimes, the politics of the death penalty, Death Penalty in North Carolina, punishment for crime in North Carolina, the gas chamber, commutations of death sentences, criminal justice and race, suffering and the death penalty, politics of punishment, gender and the death penalty, technologies of execution, the rise and fall of capital punishment