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October 13, 2011

The Meaning and Legacy of the Magna Carta

By Kent Worcester

Publication: Symposium

The six essays of this symposium address different aspects of the meaning and legacy of the Magna Carta—“the Great Charter” in Latin. Although social scientists and legal scholars routinely describe the Magna Carta as foundational for concepts of justice and liberty, the charter itself is rarely assigned in political science classes or scrutinized by political theorists. The aim of the symposium is twofold: first, to affirm the document’s historical rootedness and intellectual richness, and, second, to explore the ways in which the Magna Carta’s text and reputation have informed the development of common law and modern politics. The Magna Carta was the product of times very different from our own, yet it continues to be cited by jurists and human rights activists around the globe. This symposium makes the case for why political scientists should take an interest in the Magna Carta, not just as a cultural icon, but as a durable political text.

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The Meaning and Legacy of the Magna Carta



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