English Bill of Rights (1 Will. and Mary, sess. 2, c. 2 [1689]) United States Bill of Rights (U.S. Constitution, Amendment VIII [1791])
10. That excessive baile ought not to be required nor excessive fines imposed nor cruell and unusuall punishment inflicted. VIII. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Section 10 of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 was intended to prohibit punishments of the sort inflicted on Titus Oates -- lopping off ears, boring a hole through the tongue with a red-hot iron, slitting nostrils, etc. When the founding fathers copied this section nearly verbatim, they intended to prohibit the same kind of punishments. Obviously they did not intend to prohibit the whipping post, pillory, stocks, and gallows, all of which were in common use at the time and taken for granted.

Thus, those who assert that simple corporal or capital punishment is "cruel and unusual" within the meaning of the 8th amendment -- as understood by those who drafted and ratified it -- are ignorant fools.

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