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Bill of Rights

The English Bill of Rights was a document that set clear limits on what a ruler could and could not do. It consisted of many rules and regulations that are, today, very useful. For example, one rule that applies to the laws in America today is “The people have a right to petition the government and to have a fair and speedy trial by a jury and their peers.” This rule applies to the government today because in the constitution that we have it currently states, in the Sixth Amendment, that all persons accused of criminal wrongdoing has the right to a speedy trial. Also, another important rule that is still used today is “The people should not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment or to excessive fines and bail.” This law is the eighth amendment in the United States constitution.

The United States amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.” The punishments that were considered cruel, at the time, that put this law into place was burning at the stake, crucifixion, or breaking of the wheel. Interesting enough, the United States supreme court held the use of excessive physical force against a prisoner may constitute cruel and unusual punishment even if the prisoner didn’t suffer any severe injuries. These laws and regulations were not only so important in present life, but also in colonial North America. A major cause of the American Revolution, in fact, was that the colonist felt they were being deprived of these rights. If it wasn’t for these rules being set into place during this time period, laws and life in America could’ve been very different and would have changed the way life is today.

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