Altogether a horrible spectacle: Public executions in Nebraska, 1891
History and Philosophy
In many Western states in the 19th century, executions were carried out in public. The article details the public hanging of four men convicted of murder in Nebraska in 1891. Executions such as these became events that often involved "rowdy and intoxicated spectators." The circumstances surrounding each execution also provided opportunities for opponents of capital punishment to advocate their positions on the issue. By the turn of the 20th century, the violence associated with public hangings, and the slow and painful deaths witnessed by large groups, served as rationale for a new state law that required all executions to take place within the walls of the state penitentiary.
Ramold, S. J. (2005). Altogether a horrible spectacle: Public executions in Nebraska, 1891. Nebraska History, 86(2), 62–77.