Friday, January 23, 2009

Magna Carta

I was watching a show on the History Channel and Magna Carta was mentioned, but not explained. I have, of course, heard of Magna Carta, but realized I could not even begin to say what it actually was.

Magna Carta means ‘The Great Charter’. It is England’s Charter of Liberties. Our 5th Amendment Bill of Rights stem from the Magna Carta. The 5th amendment basically states: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, and property and without due process of law.

The Magna Carta was put forth in the year 1215 in response to King John’s abuses. Nobles revolted against the King, compelling him to execute the recognition of rights for both noblemen and ordinary Englishmen. It established the principle that no one, not even the king or lawmakers, is above the law.

Only three of the original clauses in Magna Carta are still law. One defends the freedom and rights of the English church. The second confirms the liberties and customs of London and other towns. The third is the most famous: No freeman shall be seized or imprisoned, stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled. Nor will we proceed with force against him except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, deny or delay right or justice.

The Magna Carta was confirmed by Edward I in 1297. Eventually, colonist brought the Magna Carta with them to the New World. Our Constitution was essentially based on the need for the Magna Carta. The new Americans understood the importance of the document to the freedoms of all people, thanks to the courage of Noblemen from the 12th century.

Here is a link if you would like to read the entire Magna Carta:

Now you’re a little smarter, Girlfriend — And so am I.

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