This is a picture shown by American Constitutional Amendments and Landmark Supreme Court Cases that want to emphasize "no cruel or unusual punishment".

Excessive Punishment
Do you think people should be tortured?


  • What is Excessive Punishment?

People who are punished excessively may be repeatedly subjected to verbal and physical assault. Excessive punishment is mostly used to torture and abuse those who commit serious crimes (e.g. murder), and sometimes it is used to force those who are under interrogation to confess.

For years, there has been considerable coverage and some debate about excessive punishment. Some countries consider it to be legal in specific cases and some countries do not, but now excessive punishment is not as common as before.

  • History

According to recorded history, excessive punishment was often tremendously painful. Severely historically excessive penalties include the breaking wheel, boiling to death, flaying, disembowelment, crucifixion, impalement, crushing, stoning, execution by burning, dismemberment, sawing, scaphism, and necklacing.

• Breaking Wheel

The breaking wheel, also known as the Catherine wheel or the wheel, was a capital punishment in the Middle Ages (the period in European history between antiquity and the Renaissance) and early modern times.

Victims were lashed to a wheel consisting of wooden beams and broken on it. The wheel was frequently used in the Great Northern War in the early 1700s, and it was still in use into the 19th century in France, Netherlands, Britain, and many other European countries.

• Boiling to Death

Boiling to death was a punishment in which Victims were put into a boiling liquid and then fried to death.

In England, this form of capital punishment was used for coin forgers, counterfeiters, swindlers and murderers who used poisons during the Middle Ages.

Boiling to death was also used in Asia. During the 12th and 13th centuries, some defeated khans suffered this punishment in Mongolia. In 16th century, a Japanese bandit Ishikawa Goemon was boiled alive in a bathtub after he failed to kill warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (a Japanese warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period, who unified the political factions of Japan). In 1675, a man named Bhai Dayala was subjected to the same penalty after he refused to accept Islam.

Boiling to death has also been used in modern times. The government of Uzbekistan has punished a number of political dissidents in this cruel and unusual way.

• Dismemberment

Dismemberment was carried out by tying one’s limbs to chains and tying the chains to horses or vehicles, which later moved in different directions. Victims were tortured to death after being cut, torn, pulled and wrenched.

The usage of this punishment first occurred in the Medieval European Society during early modern era. The Five Pains is a Chinese variation invented during the Qin Dynasty. Nowadays, most governments do not use dismemberment as a form of death penalty or torture. However, some communities which practice sharia still have amputation.

• Stoning

Stoning, or lapidation, is a kind of excessive punishment in which victims are thrown stones to by a group of people and finally dead. There are historical reports about stoning from Ancient Greece and it is known that stoning is always related to religion.

For example, based on many hadiths (reports of what Mohammed said, what he did and what he approved of), some Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia punish those who have adultery with stoning.

A survey carried out by the Pew Research Center (an American organization that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends changing the United States and the world) found in Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria, many people today still support for stoning as a punishment for adultery.

To see more pictures and types of excessive punishment, please click these links:

  • Different Views towards Excessive Punishment
Those who consider excessive punishment to be unacceptable and illegal believe that no one shall be subjected to any inhumane treatment or penalty. They believe that when the punishment itself is more excessive than the crime committed, this punishment should be forbidden.

However, usage of excessive punishment still exists in some countries because there are still supporters for it. For instance, stoning is a form of punishment which is included in the laws of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and some states in Nigeria.

  • Connections between Excessive Punishment and Anthem

Excessive Punishment

According to recorded history, excessive punishment was sometimes used for those who held different opinions, refused to obey, or acted differently. In 1675, a man named Bhai Dayala was subjected to the penalty boiling to death after he refused to accept Islam. In 1985, during disturbances in South Africa, African National Congress used Necklacing to kill a councilor who was accused of being a collaborator.
In Chapter VI, After making a new discovery of electricity and returning back to the Home of the Street Sweepers, Equality 7-2521 is forced to tell where he has been by the Council of the Home. After he refuses to answer, he suffers from being lashed. It is similar to some causes of excessive punishment; victims refuse to conform. Therefore, there is a connection between the excessive punishment in reality and the punishment for Equality 7-2521.

Excessive Punishment
Excessive punishment is used by societies to exercise control. For example, in ancient China, emperors used excessive punishment to punish those who tried to rebel. In this way, emperors could increase their power and threaten those who wanted to challenge their power.
In Anthem, Ayn Rand conveys that individualists are always compelled to face many risks. For instance, in order to be a real individual, Equality 7-2521 needs to escape from his society and hide because he could be captured and punished at any time. Ayn Rand’s idea is similar to the purpose of excessive punishment in most cases; To be a real individual, one has to try very hard to get rid of the control of societies.

Excessive Punishment
Excessive punishment is always slow and painful. For example, one form of punishment that is no longer used now is flaying, which is the removal of skin from victims’ bodies. Victims of flaying in history died very slowly and the process is tremendously painful.
In society where Equality 7-2521 lives, those who mention the Unspeakable Word will be put to death, and they will be burned alive in the square of the city. This form of death penalty is similar to most kinds of excessive punishment in history, which were slow and painful.

  • References to Sources
l "Breaking Wheel." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. En.wikipedia.org, Aug. 2010. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_wheel>.
l "Death by Boiling." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. En.wikipedia.org, 9 Nov. 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_to_death>.
l "Dismemberment." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. En.wikipedia.org, 12 Nov. 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismemberment>.
l "Stoning." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. En.wikipedia.org, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning>.