pardon the pun.
this is from a NYT op-ed on capital punishment, dateline Asheville, NC, by Mark Essig (the author of a book on Edison and the Electric Chair).
"It was only in the 1850s or so that Americans became squeamish about the pain suffered by executed prisoners. Before that, pain wasn’t a problem; it was the point. Through drawing and quartering, beheading, shooting or hanging, the state inscribed its power on the body of the convict and provided a lesson in the perils of disobedience."