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The Guillotine
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Thread: The Guillotine

  1. #1
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Richard86's Avatar
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    The Guillotine

    I was curious about whether the guillotine had ever been used in a US execution. Obviously there haven't been in the modern era and I haven't found one in pre-Furman either. I suppose I found it interesting that France and the US in the past had revolutions that abolished the distinction between lord and commoner and the French opted for beheading people while the US opted for hanging them (and later electric chair etc)

    But then I stumbled upon lots of websites repeating this urban legend.

    Is there a particular revulsion in the US to the idea of beheading someone which is why it doesn't appear to have been used?

  2. #2
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Stro07's Avatar
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    It was legal in Utah in the 19th century as a backup method but it was never used. The only legal North American beheading was on the French island of St. Pierre off the coast of Canada in 1889.

    See this link für more information:

    http://boisdejustice.com/Saint-Pierre/Saint-Pierre.html

  3. #3
    Moderator mostlyclassics's Avatar
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    Richard86, I suspect U.S. citizens have always had an aversion to shedding lots of blood in the course of an execution.

    Yes, some blood is shed during a firing squad execution, but if the riflemen do their work properly, there's little bleeding because the heart stops instantly and the executed is in vertical position, so little trickles out. In a guillotine execution, by contrast, the body is in a horizontal position, from which considerable blood is either expelled by the still-beating heart or lots trickles out from the severed major blood vessels leading to the brain.

    Just a guess . . .

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