1989: Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu 1862: 38 Sioux

Themed Set: The Spectacle of Public Hanging in America

December 26th, 2007 Headsman

Inherited from England, the ceremony and theater of public hangings in the youthful United States and its antecedent colonies present an almost impossibly dramatic variety for characters, costumes and stagecraft. The ritual has — at least in the U.S.A. — slipped out of time into history, myth, even kitsch.

How representative of public hangings are any of the phenomenon’s instantly recognizable tropes remains another matter.

The next four dates offer a handful that alongside their inherent interest suggest — if only by illustration — the diverse circumstances that have gathered men and women under the gallows in the New World.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: Themed Sets

10 Responses to “Themed Set: The Spectacle of Public Hanging in America”

  1. 1
    ExecutedToday.com » 1890: William Kemmler, only in America Says:

    [...] long New World tradition of hanging condemned prisoners came under fire as a barbarism in the late 19th century, leading reformers to [...]

  2. 2
    ExecutedToday.com » Themed Set: At the End of the Rope Says:

    [...] in the British Empire and its descendant countries, the hanging — and especially the public hanging — were the very image of the death penalty; its most characteristic venue at the corner of [...]

  3. 3
    ExecutedToday.com » 1862: 38 Sioux Says:

    [...] Themed Set: The Spectacle of Public Hanging in America 1739: Penelope Kenny and Sarah Simpson [...]

  4. 4
    ExecutedToday.com » 1739: Penelope Kenny and Sarah Simpson Says:

    [...] Part of the Themed Set: The Spectacle of Public Hanging in America. [...]

  5. 5
    ExecutedToday.com » 1936: Rainey Bethea, America’s last public hanging Says:

    [...] U.S. followed the trend of its onetime mother country, England, in moving the formerly iconic public hanging increasingly behind closed doors, but its federalist structure made that change uneven. In Kentucky [...]

  6. 6
    Jimmy Shirley Says:

    Public hanging ought to be brought back. Hanging is what was reserved for criminals. Today, with DNA evidence releasing people from Death row, then by God it ought to be able to confidently convict new criminals. To the point that they ought to be hanged within two years of sentencing, if not sooner. Preferably sunrise on the Monday after sentencing. The proposed two years would be an act of mercy so the condemned get his affairs in order.

  7. 7
    ExecutedToday.com » Themed Set: The Spectacle of Private Execution in America Says:

    [...] 15th, 2008 Headsman The elimination of public executions in America might have aimed at public decorum, but it certainly did not remove executions from the domain of [...]

  8. 8
    ExecutedToday.com » 1906: William Williams, the last hanged in Minnesota Says:

    [...] death penalty abolition couldn’t pass in 1889, as a bit of moral hygiene against the unseemly spectacle of public execution. The measure pioneered the familiar 20th century routine of conducting executions after midnight [...]

  9. 9
    ExecutedToday.com » 1923: Nathan Lee, the last public hanging in Texas Says:

    [...] Texas of legend — the rough and vast frontier — fits the public hanging tableau (and its dark cousin, the lynching) like a hemp [...]

  10. 10
    ExecutedToday.com » Themed Set: Americana Says:

    [...] 30th, 2011 Headsman American executions, and those glimpses of the larger American story attainable through them, have been a prominent feature on this site, [...]

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