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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Magna Carta and the Constitution

How could a historic document signed by an English king in 1215 be important to America?

Well, okay, the Magna Carta is a founding document in the story of human rights and liberties -- in America as well as England.  But that was in the Middle Ages!  Surely it didn't have a direct influence on the wording of the Constitution?

 If you have a look at the Declaration of Rights in the Maryland Constitution of 1776, however, clause 21 rings a definite echo.

It reads:

"That no freeman ought to be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land."

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