March 01, 2015

Magna Carta's Legacy Spans the Centuries

Randy J. Aliment
  • What role did Sir Edward Coke play in Magna Carta's influence?
  • What is Magna Carta's significance today?

The year 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of King John’s signing of the Magna Carta (the “Great Charter”) in a meadow at Runnymede. The charter that King John deemed as “mere foolishness” would later have an immeasurable impact on the political and legal thoughts of our society. It was described by Lord Denning as “the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.” The charter gave rise to concepts such as the rule of law, due process, and the right of trial by jury. Over time, the peace settlement of a series of feudal conflicts in a tiny fraction of the English society would evolve into key legal principles and exert a continuous influence over our legal systems today.

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