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Word Count: 825
In his commentary of On Crimes and Punishments by Beccaria Voltaire argues that the overuse and or the misuse of the death penalty erodes the very strength of a society Voltaires work acts like a thermometer for the age of enlightenment During the enlightenment era there was a shift in thought and deed regarding humanity As a result of this shift the use of torture punishment and the death penalty were reevaluated Speaking about torture Voltaire said that redifined tortures in which one can see how the human mind has worn itself out making death frightful seems to be more the inventions of tyranny than of justiceVoltaire245 Here Voltaire comments on how a select few in power use tyranny to oppress the members of a society in the name of justice Instead of serving the state the death penalty and torture have adverse affects on the state Society grows cautious and afraid of its government It is important to point out that the commoner both sexes working class not of any noble decent was subject to horrible torture and harsh punishment while there were times when the rich or affluent could use their wealth and power to escape their sentence This unequal distribution of justice further eroded the peoples sense of community It is difficult to grow together as a society when you live in constant fear of your government When people are afraid to voice their opinion about community issues for fear of persecution they draw back from the public realm and concentrate on living their private life Life becomes a series of day to day struggles with no sense of togetherness or unity In the past various leaders have played on these feelings of fear and intimidation to gain control over unruly masses Harsh punishments like the death penalty were used in time of revolution and chaos Voltaire calls laws of this nature political laws because they are made for reasons of short
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