Why was the 8th Amendment written?

1 Answer
Sep 28, 2017


The 8th amendment was written to preserve people's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


The eight amendment prohibits excessive bail, fines, and cruel or unusual punishment. Governments have used excessive bails, fines and cruel punishments to restrict people's freedom, take away or damage their lives, and to take away property with excessive fines.

When an excessive bail is posted a person may be unable to raise the the bail amount. The excessive bail effectively takes away a person's freedom. Unable to raise bail a person may spend months or even years in prison waiting for a trial. The person after the trial may be found innocent but the innocent has lost their freedom for the period they were in jail awaiting trial.

Excessive fines are a means for the government to take away property. The fines may be so large that a person has to sell their home, farm, vehicle, and personal property to pay the fine. Governments have abused their legal right to levee fines to exhort people under their control. Being punished with an excessive fine destroys a person ability to pursue happiness.

Cruel and Unusual punishments, can result in the government executing people for trivial offenses. This takes away their lives. Other governments have instituted punishments like the removal of hands for theft and scourging for improper dress.

The eight amendment was designed to prevent the loss of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness by the actions of the government.

A present debate is whether the death penalty can be consider to be a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the eight amendment.