How Michigan became the first English-speaking government to abolish the death penalty

May 17, 2018
Originally published on May 17, 2018 1:51 pm

This Friday marks the 172nd anniversary of a uniquely Michigan milestone. On May 18, 1846, Michigan became the first English-speaking government in the world to vote and pass a measure to abolish the death penalty.

Mark Harvey, State Archivist with the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to talk about Michigan’s progressive past. Judge Avern Cohn, the Senior United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, also joined the conversation.

Listen above to hear about how Michigan came to abolish the death penalty 172 years ago, and how, despite a few desperate attempts, Michiganders never felt comfortable reviving the policy.

This segment is produced in partnership with the Michigan History Center.

 

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