All You Need To Know About Magna Carta Libertatum – Great Charter of Freedoms (II)
If you read our previous article[p1] , you know just how important this document really is. What it meant back in the 13th century and what it means today. In this article, we are going to give you another small peek inside England’s history, as well as its influence on American history. So, what are the fundamental principles of this royal charter that changed everything?
- “No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed…”
- Not even the King will proceed against a freeman or prosecute him. That can be done only by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the “law of the land”.
- “To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice.”
- All free citizens have the right to own and inherit property and to be protected from excessive taxes.
As we said, Magna Carta was also an inspiration for the Americans. Namely, during the American Revolution, this document was used to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defence. The American people believed that they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen – rights guaranteed in Magna Carta Libertatum. So, they adopted those rights into their own laws and later also into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The well-known Fifth Amendment of the American Constitution that says “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”, is taken directly from Magna Carta, as you saw in the principles above.
Article 61 of Magna Carta
Clause 61 is one of the most essential parts of Magna Carta because it defines and protects God-given and human rights. Here, King John commits to taking nothing from anyone, directly or indirectly, and he also grants liberties mentioned in the previous article, as well as security for the barons. However, the Pope disagreed, which led to internal war in England.
So, in simple terms, what did all of this mean to the people? How did it reflect on the average citizens? Well, it meant that the Great Charter of Freedoms protected their rights instead of undermining them. As the name of the charter itself suggests, it meant freedom to all and resistance to injustice. In fact, thousands of people in England still use article 61 as a legal argument when petitioning the Queen if their rights have been undermined.
[p1]Link to “Magna Carta Libertatum – Great Charter of Freedoms (I)”
[p2]Link to “Magna Carta Foundation”
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