The Magna Carta

A good many years ago, in 1215 to be exact, King John of England signed the Magna Carta. It was a revolutionary document, establishing among other things the principles that everyone (including the king!) is subject to the law, and that individuals have rights, including to a fair trial. It’s a model, or a starting point, at least, for modern constitutions.

Today, I visited the British Library and viewed one of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta. It was a particularly poignant reminder of how those rights are taken for granted in America – until they’re not.

What I also learned today is that the Pope annulled the original Magna Carta just ten weeks later. It took many years, and a few more kings, before the principles of the Magna Carta became enshrined in law. Democracy takes time. Still, we hold those principles dear in the US Constitution and we’ll defend them to the end.

(Also, I apparently I just missed visiting the library on the #DayofFacts declared by museums and libraries on Friday.)

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