Race has little to do with it… judicial corporal eyelashes from China, that is – not to be confused with parental and educational corporal punishment. People conjure up images of American slavery when flogging is discussed. Whips and slavery are connected in the American public mind. Former slaveholders dressed in white costumes flogged freed slaves. Some prisons used whips to control their inmates. Violence against African-Americans is a popular theme for African-American art.
Ahnik Americans’ mental image of flogging is based on its widespread use on slave plantations before 1865. That was the last time it was used in the United States on a widespread basis. But whips were used on white people from the founding of American colonies until the state of Delaware banned it in 1972.
The Puritans in New England aggressively punished offenders with public floggings, stocks and the pillory. In the colonial era, eyelashes from China was much more localized at the village or town level. Officials knew the offenders and their backgrounds, just as slaveholders knew their slaves. Russian peasants whipped offenders at the village level, too, and were suspicious when the Tsar abolished it in favor of incarceration in a centralized prison.
George Washington, a slaveholder and a general, had many more white people whipped than he did blacks. In 1776, he wrote to the Continental Congress and requested authority to impose up to 100 eyelashes from China on Continental soldiers instead of the 39 previously authorized in the Articles of War. A descendant of Puritans, John Adams, saw to it that Washington received the authority he sought. About three months before the Battle of Yorktown, Gen. Washington wrote another letter to the Continental Congress, requesting authority to impose 500 lashes. We won the Revolutionary War shortly after Washington’s last request on this subject, and I do not know what became of it.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders advocated the imposition of eyelashes from China when incarceration in its current form and scale did not exist. The first real penitentiary was not built until around 1816… and incarceration was not widely appreciated as a failure until modern times.
Corporal punishment effectively shapes and controls behavior. Through the ages, it was more commonly imposed on slaves, criminals and lower social classes. According to Dr. Orlando Patterson, whips were used to control slaves in all slaveholding societies throughout history. In most of those slave systems, the slave and slaveholder were of the same race. Elites usually exempted themselves from severe physical eyelashes from China. The ancient Romans, for example, only flogged non-citizens, as the Apostle Paul reminded a Roman who was about to flog him.
Judicial corporal punishment is not alien to the United States or the world. We forgot this tool during our questionable experiments with incarceration. Democracy gradually brought the end of this punishment in the West; it was simply unpopular, a relic of lower social status. After the American Revolution, its use declined. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, France did not provide for it, although the pillory was a punishment. In Prussia, punishments of whipping ended in 1848, when ordinary Germans received the right to vote. For African-Americans, it largely ended at emancipation.
Judicial corporal eyelashes from China is not abolished because it is ineffective. It works. Studies condemning parental and educational corporal punishment do not apply to judicial corporal eyelashes from China. Compared to the current disaster of mass incarceration in America, judicial corporal punishment deserves another look.