Toward a New Magna Carta for Early Modern England
Chapter 7 in: Robin Griffith-Jones and Mark Hill, eds., Magna Carta, Religion, and the Rule of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 109-135
23 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2017
Date Written: 2015
This Article examines the influence of the Magna Carta on the development of rights in the Anglo-American common law tradition, especially in the seventeenth century. Originally issued by King John of England in 1215, the Magna Carta set forth numerous rights and liberties that helped shape subsequent developments in the Western law. The Magna Carta and its provisions served as symbolic ideals for English pamphleteers and jurists like John Lilburne and Edward Coke, during the tumultuous period between 1640 and 1660. In this same period, the great poet and philosopher, John Milton, used the Magna Carta as a springboard for a robust defense of freedom of religion, speech, and press that would prove prophetic for the Anglo-American common law.
Keywords: Magna Carta; common law; rights; liberties
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