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February 29, 2012

National Archives translates the Magna Carta into English for the 21st century

WASHINGTON — To most Americans, England’s “Magna Carta,” or “Great Charter,” is a dead-tree document from the 13th century. Written in medieval Latin and dealing with arguments between long-dead kings and their nobles, the document is impenetrable.

On Friday, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., brought it into the 21st century with a new interactive exhibit.

Why should Americans care about this charter?

Read up on the founding fathers and the American Revolution.

“If you read the early writings of Hamilton, Jefferson and Adams, and Madison, many times they say, it’s because of the Magna Carta that we’re doing this (rebelling against England),” says David M. Rubenstein, who loaned the document to the National Archives. He is the co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group.

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