Magna Carta, ‘The Great Charter’, paved the way for modern government by establishing in 1225 the principal that no-one, not even the monarch, was above the law and giving all “free men” the right to justice and a fair trial. While only three clauses are still in force today, Magna Carta remains a rallying cry for those opposing autocracy and the arbitrary use of power. Magna Carta’s core principles influenced other political constitutions around the world, including the United States Bill of Rights and even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights (1950).
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The British Library is exhibiting Magna Carta and related materials over the next few months and will be blogging about the exhibit. Read more on the British Library Early and Medieval Manuscripts blog.