In 1215 King John agreed to the terms of the Magna Carta following the uprising of a group of rebel barons in England.
The barons captured London in May 1215, which forced King John's hand and caused him to finally negotiate with the group, and the Magna Carta was created as a peace treaty between the king and the rebels.
The document was written in Latin, and the original Magna Carta had 63 clauses. Today, only three of these remain on the British statute books; one defends the liberties and rights of the English Church, another confirms the liberties and customs of London and other towns, and the third gives all English subjects the right to justice and a fair trial.
The third says:
"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
Inspiration for America
The Magna Carta greatly influenced Americas founding fathers when writing America's Bill of Rights.
During the American Revolution, the Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty's defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in the Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land."
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