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Magna Carta Day
Magna Carta exercised a strong influence both on the United States Constitution and on the constitutions of the various states. However, its influence was shaped by what eighteenth-century Americans believed the Magna Carta to signify. Magna Carta was widely held to be the people’s reassertion of rights against an oppressive ruler, a legacy that captured American distrust of concentrated political power. In part because of this tradition, most of the state constitutions included declarations of rights intended to guarantee individual citizens a list of protections and immunities from the state government. The United States also adopted the Bill of Rights, in part, due to this political conviction.
Join the Liberty First Foundation for a series of discussions about the Magna Carta and its role in shaping the United States and the Constitution. We will be discussing the history of the Magna Carta. The influence the Magna Carta had on the colonies. How the Magna Carta helped shape many of the State Constitution and the United States Constitution. We will talk about the principles behind the Magna Carta and why it is important today.
From the Journal of the Continental Congress
When the first Continental Congress met in September and October 1774, it drafted a Declaration of Rights and Grievances claiming for the colonists the liberties guaranteed to them under “the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts.” The colonists sought the preservation of their self-government, freedom from taxation without representation, the right to a trial by a jury of one’s countrymen, and their enjoyment of “life, liberty, and property” free from arbitrary interference from the crown. On this title page is a symbol of unity adopted by the congress: twelve arms reaching out to grasp a column that is topped by a liberty cap. The base of the column reads “Magna Carta.”