Magna Carta: An Enduring Symbol for the Rule of Law
This year the Magna Cart celebrates it's 800th birthday! As reported by Mariel Synan of history.com, hundreds of years before American colonists revolted against the crown, rebel nobles in England drafted the Magna Carta to restrict the power of King John. While the Magna Carta primarily secured liberties for England’s elite classes, its language protecting due process and barring absolute monarchy has guided the fundamental principles of common law in constitutions around the world for the last 800 years. The Magna Carta brought an end to the absolute power of English sovereigns as they, too, were required to be held accountable by the law.
America’s founding documents can trace roots to the Magna Carta, which laid the groundwork for democracy as we know it today. As the infographic below from LexisNexis suggests, the Magna Carta established several key principles:
- No taxation without representation
- Right to a fair trial
- No one is above the law – not even a king
Read here to learn more about the history of the Magna Carta.