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Magna Carta (1215)

The Magna CartaThe Magna Carta illustrates Compact Theory as well as initial strides toward limited government. Its provisions address individual rights and political rights. Latin for “Great Charter,” the Magna Carta was written by Barons in Runnymede, England and forced on the King. Although the protections were generally limited to the prerogatives of the Barons, the Magna Carta embodied the general principle that the King accepted limitations on his rule. These included the fundamental acknowledgement that the king was not above the law.

Included in the Magna Carta are protections for the English church, petitioning the king, freedom from forced quarter of troops and unreasonable searches, due process and fair trial protections, and freedom from excessive fines. These protections can be found in the FirstThirdFourthFifthSixth, and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution.