Hanging was the most common means of carrying out capital punishment used in the United States from the 1600’s up until the late 1800’s.   Hangings were eventually eliminated by more humane means of execution such as the electric chair and the gas chamber.


When a person is hanged they ultimately die of asphyxia.  Dependent on how far the person is dropped has no affect on the actual cause of death, but it does have an effect on how long they are conscious.   When dropped from greater heights, the person’s neck snaps and they go unconscious much more quickly than a short drop.  The distance a person was to be dropped was determined based on their weight and height. 


Hangings in America were usually public executions and community members would attend.  The person at times would also be left hanging as a message to his peers. 


The first recorded hanging in America was the hanging of Daniell Frank on Mach 1,1622.  He was hanged for stealing cattle.  The last hanging was of Billy Bailey on January 25, 1996 in Delaware. He was given capital punishment for murdering two people.  


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