Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado
Impact of Magna Carta
It was pretty much the same thing as the issue facing him and his co-workers at Royal, Inc. "King George" had broken every promise that had been made to his employees, which was why they had now got together to quit and start their own company. But how can you prove something like that? How do you tell the boss that the fact that you are leaving is justified? For Thomas Jefferson the proof was in a centuries old document called the "Magna Carta".
The Magna Carta
Winston Churchill, 1956
The words were translated from Latin words meaning "GREAT CHARTER". The Magna Carta was written in 1214 and further developed into its restated and commonly accepted form in 1215. Signed by King John of England who had agreed to the original charter a year before, the Charter of 1215 included a preamble and 63 basic laws for the government of England. It wasn't an agreement King John signed willingly, in fact, he tried to have it outlawed a year later claiming he had signed it "under duress".
Such Revolutionary War era principles as habeas corpus and the wrongness of taxation without representation drew their roots from English Law of the 17th century that was based upon the Magna Carta. King George had violated these laws...in effect placing his decisions above the law of the land, and this gave the Colonists not only the right to seek freedom, but a responsibility to do so.
Not only did the Magna Carta become a "springboard" for Jefferson's revolutionary Declaration of Independence, the concepts of LAW as supreme (above even kings or legislative bodies) were drafted into the United States Constitution by James Monroe. The Bill of Rights, and specifically the 5th and 6th Amendments, find their heart and even their verbiage in the words of The Great Charter. Born in England in the 13th Century, the Magna Carta is arguably American as it is British.
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