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August 17, 2012

Parliamentary Libraries Celebrate 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta

John Pullinger, Librarian and Director General, Information Services, House of Commons and Robert R. Newlen, Assistant Law Librarian, Law Library of Congress, Library of Congress


A King hoping to avert civil war approved Magna Carta in a field in the countryside of Runnymede, England on June 15, 1215. Since that time it has become one of the most celebrated documents in history. While King John conceded to the demands of his barons and affixed his seal to Magna Carta,   less than three months later the Pope voided the document and war broke out.  In spite of its initial failure, Magna Carta was reissued several times after the death of King John and has become a cornerstone of the rule of law worldwide.

This great charter of rights and liberties stands at the historic heart of English and American Law. It is one of the earliest statements of limited government and a point of departure for centuries of thought on individual rights.  This paper describes how parliamentary libraries in the UK and USA, will celebrate this historic anniversary.

To read the full paper click here



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