In 1215, 25 English barons forced King John to agree to Magna Carta. This was an intensely practical document addressing specific abuses of power by the king in the hopes of avoiding war. Although only three and one-half of Magna Carta’s original 63 provisions are still in force in England today, its legacy and influence encircle the globe. What, then, does this ancient instrument have to do with sustainable development, a term that was not even coined until the last part of the twentieth century, more than 750 years after King John affixed his seal to Magna Carta? To answer this, it helps to examine Magna Carta’s fascinating course over the past 800 years.
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