chapter  4
20 Pages

The Administration of Death in the Nineteenth Century

New attitudes toward personal death inevitably, in some cases quite strik ingly, affected broader policies. This was most impressively true with regard to the death penalty. New concerns about death also affected reactions to suicide and policies toward abortion. Even death in war was reconsidered. In most of these areas, many factors complicated the application of the growing distaste for death: Sometimes attitudes toward death were partly window dressing for policies supported for other reasons, sometimes attitudes toward death simply could not prevail against other developments. But the scope of reconsideration, at least to some degree, was impressive. New thinking about death prompted serious in novations in a variety of policy areas, connecting personal changes in emotions and rituals to major new initiatives that might affect hosts of strangers.