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Oxford’s Bodleian, one of the oldest libraries in Europe, holds three of the surviving manuscripts of the 1217 Charters, the new and improved versions of the original Magna Carta. Issued during the reign of the Henry III when he was only 9 years old, they bear the seal of his appointed guardians – the regents of the boy king, William Marshal and the Papal Legate to England, Guala Bicchieri. The great seal of Henry III was finally attached to an even later edition of the Magna Carta – the 1225 Charter of the Forest.

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The early settlers in the United States took with them copies of the Magna Carta. One undertaking given by King John in that Charter was as follows: No freeman shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in...

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