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April 25, 2005

April the Twenty-fifth

This day in history:

April 25, 1792

Opposed to the cruelty of the current form of the death penalty as well as the death penalty itself, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, a member of the National Assembly, suggested, in 1789, the device known as the Gibbet as the standard for execution, hoping it would at least remedy the cruelty of the practice. After being tested on animals, then corpses from a nearby hospital, on April 25, 1792 Nicolas-Jacques Pelletier, a man convicted of robbing travelers, was executed on the place de Grève. The crowd, reportedly, were not impressed with its swiftness and called for a return to hanging. Nevertheless its swiftness proved to be beneficial to the French Revolution who had a long list of French Aristocrats to execute. Its swiftness and frequency of use also made the guillotine an even more feared instrument of death than previous methods. Dr. Guiillotin's descendants have since changed their name to remove any connection to the device, eventually named after him.

Posted by Danny Carlton at April 25, 2005 07:51 AM

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