The Magna Carta and The U.S. Constitution
Legal Methods and Process
The Magna Carta, also known as the “Great Charter” was a document signed by King John over eight hundred years ago. Initially it was “great” due to the oversized parchment which later became the founding document of the Anglo-American constitutionalism (Moreno, 2015. Para 1). This is the originating document that stated the ideals that the governmental powers were limited and that individuals had rights that were not to be violated by the government. The United States (US) was founded on the principles that the governmental powers needed to be specific and that the people’s rights were assumed and thus the Magna Carta began the idea of enumerating powers (Moreno, 2015. Para 2).
Written in 1215 and being the first “governmental decree” (Kelly, 2019) that establish the reality that “all people, including the king were equally subject to the law” (Kelly, 2019). This document ascertained individual rights against oppressive rulers and had a great impact on the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and many US states constitutions. The US Constitution was written based off the ideals of the Magna Carta, and even though they were written at different times, they go hand in hand.
The Magna Carta being the foundational document is just that, and many of its Articles/ideals are also found in the Constitution. One of the most important aspect of both documents is that they both focus on preserving life, liberty, and property without due process of the law, unlawful searches and seizures, right to a speedy trial, and the right to a jury trial. This was noted in another document, know as the “Bill of Rights” and was adopted by the newly formed US due to the already noted right to individual freedom within the Magna Carta.
The right to individual protection from cruel and unusual punishment was also reiterated in our Constitution by keeping fines so that they do not loose their livelihood by being to excessive and/or false imprisonment. Habeas Corpus is the right to due process and states that no free man could be imprisoned and punished without the judgement from a jury of one’s peers.
Chapter 12 of the Magna Carta promised “taxation through representation” (Rothman, 2015) and the Sixteenth Amendment in the US Constitution limits the amount that congress can levy an income tax without breaking it down by average amongst the population in each state. There are numerous similarities between these documents and in today’s world more protection and rights are being added to each constitution in each state to adapt and uphold today’s society modern individual rights.
It is not to wonder that over 800 years later and the ever-changing society that some in Britain are now advocating that it may be time for them to have a written constitution as well (Rothman, L. 2015. Para. 4). The Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, and the US Constitution all go hand in hand with the foundational document being altered in a way as to clarify what exactly was meant by the needs to preserve life, liberty, and property. These documents are reasons why total tyranny does not exist in our world. The US Constitution is reiteration of what our founding fathers were advocating towards and to meet individual needs without violating any rights is something that changes with time as evidenced by the many amendments to the Amendments.
Kelly, M. (2019, July 3). Importance of the Magna Carta to the US Constitution. Retrieved from
Moreno, P. (2015, June 15). What Rights are Due to-and-from-Magna Carta. Retrieved from
Rothman, L. (2015, June 15). Celebrating Magna Carta’s 800th Birthday. [Time]. Retrieved from