Wisconsin Outlaws Capital Punishment (1853)

Report of the Select Committee, to whom was referred, a Bill to Abolish the Death Penalty


Following the particularly gruesome public execution of a Kenosha murderer in 1850, reformers increased their efforts to have the death penalty abolished in Wisconsin. Chief among them were newspaper editor Christopher Latham Sholes of Kenosha and Waukesha Co. farmer Marvin H. Bovee. Both men were elected to the state legislature, where they lobbied extensively for the cause. Bovee, with future governor James T. Lewis, authored the Senate report given here. On March 9, 1853, the Assembly passed the Death Penalty Repeal Act by a vote of 36 to 28; on July 8th the Senate concurred, as recommended in this report; and Governor Leonard Farwell signed the bill on July 10, 1853.


Related Topics: Wisconsin in the Civil War Era
Abolition and Other Reforms
Creator: Wisconsin. Legislature. Senate. Select Committee on Death Penalty.
Pub Data: Madison, Wis.: David Atwood, printer, 1853. Signed by M.H. Bovee and J. T. Lewis; "In Senate -- reported by Mr. Bovee, March 21, 1853, and 500 copies printed." The copy shown here is from Wis Mss VY, James T. Lewis Papers, folder 6.
Citation: Wisconsin. Legislature. Senate. Select Committee on Death Penalty. Report of the Select Committee, to whom was referred, a Bill to Abolish the Death Penalty. (Madison, Wis.: David Atwood, printer, 1853). Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1588; Visited on: 8/23/2014
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