Capital punishment was introduced to the United States after Eurpoean settlers used the practice as a form of crime prevention. Since then, support for execution as punishment has remained controversial and inconsistent. It wasn’t untill the anti-slavery movement during the civil war era that the electric chair was established as a new method for capital punishment. It was at this point that opposition to the death penalty considerably decreased.
The United States is one of the only western countries that still allows executions. Currently more than 70 percent of the world including all of Europe has ebolished the death penalty, and now more than ever the US has been placed under growing pressure to do the same. In Europe, protection against capital punishment is guaranteed through the sixth protocol, which was put in place by the convention for protection of human rights. They believe that abolition of the death penalty addresses the notion that it is better to let the guilty free than take a life of the innocent. The one exception for the use of the death penalty pertains specifically to war when killing the enemy on the battlefield. This exception can be explained by the fact that capital sentences in war are viewed as part of the war effort rather than as a tool of the criminal justice process