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MAGNA CARTA

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Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2007, 08:49:21 pm »










Popular perceptions
 


In 1957 the American Bar Association acknowledged the debt American law and constitutionalism had to Magna Carta by erecting a monument at Runnymede.Magna Carta is often a symbol for the first time the citizens of England were granted rights against an absolute king. However, in practice the Commons could not enforce Magna Carta in the few situations where it applied to them, so its reach was limited. Also, a large part of Magna Carta was copied, nearly word for word, from the Charter of Liberties of Henry I, issued when Henry I rose to the throne in 1100, which bound the king to laws which effectively granted certain civil liberties to the church and the English nobility.

The document commonly known as Magna Carta today is not the 1215 charter, but a later charter of 1225, and is usually shown in the form of the Charter of 1297 when it was confirmed by Edward I. At the time of the 1215, charter many of the provisions were not meant to make long-term changes but simply to right some immediate wrongs; therefore, the Charter was reissued three times in the reign of Henry III (1216, 1217 and 1225). After this, each king for the next two hundred years (until Henry V in 1416) personally confirmed the 1225 charter in his own charter. It should not be thought of as one document but rather a variety of documents coming together to form one Magna Carta, in the same way as the treaties of Rome and Nice (among others) come together to form the treaties of the European Union and the European Community.

Popular perception is that King John and the barons signed the Magna Carta, however there were no signatures on the original document, only a single seal by the king. The words of the charter-Data per manum nostram-signify that the document was personally given by the king's hand. By placing his seal on the document, the King and the barons followed common law that a seal was sufficient to authenticate a deed, though it had to be done in front of witnesses. John's seal was the only one, and he did not sign it. The barons neither signed nor attached their seals to it.

The document is also honoured in America, where some view it as an antecedent of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. The United States has contributed the Runnymede Memorial and Lincoln Cathedral offers a Magna Carta Week.

The UK lent one of the four remaining copies of Magna Carta to the U.S. for its bicentennial celebrations and donated a gold copy which is displayed in the U.S. Capital Rotunda.

In 2006, BBC History held a poll to recommend a date for a proposed "Britain Day". June 15, as the date of the signing of the original 1215 Magna Carta, received most votes, above other suggestions such as D-Day, VE Day, and Remembrance Day. The outcome was not binding, although Chancellor Gordon Brown had previously given his support to the idea of a new national day to celebrate British identity.
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