Whipping Post: A Brutal Chapter in Punitive History

In American history, the term "flogging" brings to mind a harsh and fearful punishment of the past. It was a cruel practice that left physical and emotional scars on countless people.

Flogging is the act of beating the human body with special instruments such as whips, rods, switches, cat o' nine tails, sjambok, knots, etc.

Flogging was a common form of punishment during the early colonial period in America. English colonists brought with them a legal tradition that included flogging as a means of disciplining criminals.

It was used for a variety of crimes including theft, public drunkenness and insubordination. The severity of punishment varies depending on the nature of the crime and local laws.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of whipping in American history was its widespread use as a means of controlling enslaved people.

Enslaved persons could be subjected to brutal whippings for the slightest perceived infraction or acts of resistance.

Flogging was not only a means of physical punishment, but also a tool of psychological terror, used to subdue the slave population and maintain control over them.

The 19th century saw significant reforms in the criminal justice system, including a move away from corporal punishment.

Influential figures such as Dorothea Dix advocated prison reform and humane treatment of prisoners.

Gradually, flogging declined as a public spectacle, but its use continued in some jurisdictions, particularly in the South, into the 20th century.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Maryland was the only state that retained a flogging law.

But within a year it was joined by Delaware and in 1905 by Oregon, which enacted a provision similar to Maryland's, but it was repealed six years later after much public uproar.

Baltimore’s Whipping Post

In the early 20th century, Baltimore was one of the few major American cities where flogging continued to be used as judicial punishment.

This practice was applied primarily in cases of assault and battery or other violent crimes.

Flogging punishment was usually administered in the Baltimore City Jail, where a designated officer would administer the punishment using a leather belt or whip.

In the picture above, a man convicted of wife beating has been given the punishment of flogging. According to the Maryland Center for History and Culture: “On a cool March day, three blue-clad guards tied Baltimore printer Clyde Miller to a cross-shaped wooden pole in the Baltimore City Jail, arms outstretched and naked to the waist. Were.

As 50 witnesses watched, Miller was brutally whipped 20 times with a cat's nine-tailed whip at a rate of whips per second.

After the final blow, Miller was taken to the prison hospital writhing, writhing and "half unconscious with pain."

Sheriff Joe Deegan, the man tasked with carrying out the execution, later commented that although he did not like the task, he was "only an instrument of the law...[and] as long as he was on the law book Yes, I have it to follow."

Incredibly, this didn't happen in 18th or 19th century Maryland – it happened in 1938 Baltimore.

When Clyde Miller was flogged on the smooth, dark surface of the wooden stake, he became the last person to be flogged in Baltimore's archaic system of punishment under an obscure 56-year-old law that allowed flogging only for one crime. There was a provision for beating the wife.

The flogging experiment in Baltimore attracted significant public attention and debate.

Critics argued that it was a cruel and outdated form of punishment that violated evolving human rights standards and the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

On the other hand, supporters of flogging believed that it served to deter crime.

Ultimately, the practice of flogging in Baltimore came under scrutiny and faced legal challenges.

Criticism and legal pressure eventually led to the abolition of flogging as a judicial punishment in the city in the mid-1950s.

1 comment:

  1. Needs to be brought back, ESPECIALLY in Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Atlanta- ALL of those cities that are... infested.


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