Saturday, July 04, 2009

2 Documents To Help Celebrate July 4th

Two Important Documents in the
quest for Human Dignity 1215 and 1776

Click here to go to wikipediaMagna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum (the Great Charter of Freedoms), is an English legal charter, originally issued in the year 1215. It was written in Latin and is known by its Latin name. The usual English translation of Magna Carta is Great Charter.

Magna Carta required King John of England to proclaim certain rights (pertaining to freemen), respect certain legal procedures, and accept that his will could be bound by the law. It explicitly protected certain rights of the King's subjects, whether free or fettered — and implicitly supported what became the writ of habeas corpus, allowing appeal against unlawful imprisonment.

Magna Carta was arguably the most significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today in the English speaking world. Magna Carta influenced the development of the common law and many constitutional documents,
including the United States Constitution. Many clauses were renewed throughout the Middle Ages, and continued to be renewed as late as the 18th century. By the second half of the 19th century, however, most clauses in their original form had been repealed from English law.

Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English
King by a group of his subjects (the barons) in an
attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their
privileges. It was preceded by the 1100 Charter of
Liberties in which King Henry I voluntarily stated that
his own powers were under the law.

In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period mostly
did not limit the power of Kings; but by the time of the
English Civil War it had become an important symbol for
those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law.

Magna Carta is normally understood to refer to a single
document, that of 1215. Various amended versions of Magna
Carta appeared in subsequent years however, and it is the
1297 version which remains on the statute books of
England and Wales.

Click here to go to WikipediaThe United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

After finalizing the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as a printed broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The most famous version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is usually regarded as the Declaration of Independence, is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. According to most historians, Congress signed this document on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4, as is often believed.

The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have
been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The
Declaration justified the independence of the United
States by listing colonial grievances against King George
III, and by asserting certain natural rights, including a
right of revolution. Having served its original purpose
in announcing independence, the text of the Declaration
was initially ignored after the American Revolution. Its
stature grew over the years, particularly the second
sentence, a sweeping statement of human rights:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This sentence has been called "one of the best-known
sentences in the English language" and "the
most potent and consequential words in American
history". The passage has often been used to promote
the rights of marginalized groups, and came to represent
for many people a moral standard for which the United
States should strive. This view was greatly influenced by
Abraham Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the
foundation of his political philosophy, and promoted the
idea that the Declaration is a statement of principles
through which the United States Constitution should be



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