The Eighth Amendment

An Illustrated History

  • “Cruel and Unusual” from Lex Talionis
  • Double Jeopardy and Proportionality
  • A History of Death; A Classical Death
  • Death in a Time of God’s Mercy
  • King’s Death
  • The English Bill of Rights
  • “Cruel and Unusual” as a Pair
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Excessive Bail, Fines, and Punishment Forbidden

Today, our interest in “cruel and unusual punishment” centers on the death penalty. But, as made clear in this book, punishment has been viewed with different perspective in different ages. Medieval Christians saw the death penalty as a means of obtaining God’s grace and treated execution with reverence whereas earlier and later generations saw it as a correction to vice and deterrent to others. Rarely has it been seen as retribution. And although the wording, with a one-word exception, is copied from the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the Framers’ were working with a different premise; an evolving notion of crime, proportionality and punishment.

Illuminated with discursions into literature, religion, film, and popular culture here is a book for the interested citizen as well as the student of American politics and history.

53 pages
Illustrated in full color
ISBN: 978-1-945682-08-7