Comparing and Contrasting Magna Carta Vs Bill of Rights

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Published: Mar 22, 2021

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Words: 3719|Pages: 2|19 min read

Published: Mar 22, 2021

Comparing and Contrasting Magna Carta Vs Bill of Rights
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The essay explores the historical significance and similarities between the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights. It discusses how both documents were responses to public discontent and aimed to limit the power of the monarchy, ultimately granting more rights and power to the people. While the Magna Carta was created in 1215 during King John's reign to address barons' grievances, the English Bill of Rights was established in 1689 following the Glorious Revolution to curb the power of King James II.

Both documents share common principles, such as the idea that all individuals have certain rights that should be protected by law. They also emphasize the importance of limiting the monarch's powers and ensuring that the government respects the rights of the people. The Magna Carta laid the foundation for these concepts, while the English Bill of Rights further expanded on them, demanding freedom of speech, religion, and other key freedoms.

The essay also mentions the American Declaration of Independence, which was influenced by these earlier documents. It highlights the role of various individuals in shaping these historical documents and their lasting impact on the formation of modern democratic societies. Overall, the essay underscores the enduring importance of these documents in shaping the principles of freedom, democracy, and individual rights in the United States and beyond.

Prompt Examples for Bill of Rights Essay

  • Historical Context: Examine the historical circumstances and political contexts in which the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights were created and their impact on their respective societies.
  • Key Principles: Compare and contrast the key principles and rights outlined in the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, and discuss their significance in the development of constitutional law.
  • Legal Protections: Analyze how the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights provide legal protections to individuals and limit the powers of the government, and discuss any similarities or differences in their approaches.
  • Influence on Modern Legal Systems: Discuss the lasting influence of both documents on modern legal systems and the protection of civil liberties in contemporary society.
  • Evolution of Constitutional Rights: Examine how the ideas and principles established in the Magna Carta have evolved and been incorporated into the Bill of Rights and subsequent legal documents.

Bill of Rights Essay Example

Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights are both historically significant documents; while the Magna Carta was meant to serve as a peace treaty between upset barons and King John, the English Bill of Rights ensured that the monarchy within England didn’t hold too much accumulated power, and thus gave more power to the Parliament. Although the English Bill of Rights ended up replacing the Magna Carta, and although both documents serve different purposes, they have an interesting amount of similarities. This paper will aim to analyze the important characteristics that both the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights share by thoroughly comparing the two documents.

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Both documents were written due to a public at dismay. The Magna Carta was written because rebel barons were fed up with the overwhelming power of King John, and they felt that they were stripped away from basic rights and their free will due to the government in England. Through the Magna Carta, they sought to provide themselves and those who will come after them the free will and basic rights they deserve “To all free men of our kingdom we have also granted, for us and our heirs forever, all the liberties written out below, and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs” (King John, 1215) However, the Magna Carta didn’t demand the complete obliteration of the monarchy as the Bill of Rights had. The Bill of Rights, written nearly 500 years after the Magna Carta, was written by a society that had just experienced the Glorious Revolution (“English Bill of Rights of 1689”, 2018), and demanded the end of the interference between the crown and the law. Overall both the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights were designed due to controversial situations in England, both were a rebellion against British monarch, where it minimized the monarchy’s power, although in different degrees, and both documents served to give power and distinctive rights to people.

While the Magna Carta was written in 1215 rebelling against King John, the English Bill of Rights was written after the Glorious Revolution in 1688 in a rebellion against King James II, and the monarch family. The Magna Carta mainly addressed the baron’s demands of wanting a right to trial jury, the king not being able to tax the public without their consent, wanting an effective legal system where law is exercised, and defending everyone’s property rights. On the other hand, the English Bill of Rights demanded freedom of speech and religion, abolishment of the monarchy’s interference within law, elimination of cruel and torturous punishments, and ultimately, a pathway that would make the Parliament stronger than the monarch (“The English Bill of Rights,” 1688). On an important note, the Bill of Rights delivers a plan of free elections and of a representative government. Similarly, Magna Carta wished to lessen the power of the King and thereby offered a legal system where “the barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep” (King John, 1215). The English Bill of Rights simply built on this ideology. The major differences between the two documents is that the Magna Carta addressed the issues that the barons were dealing with during that time such as trials and crimes, and it didn’t seek out to grant any rights to the public overall as the English Bill of Rights had. The English Bill of Rights sought to gain the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech among many other freedoms to avoid further oppression from overwhelmingly powerful monarchs. The Magna Carta placed limits on King John’s power, but the Bill of Rights ensured that the Parliament will always be more powerful than the monarch.

As can be seen, the Magna Carta written in 1200s derived from rebellious barons who were fed up with King John’s ruling and wished to limit his powers and themselves certain rights, whereas the English Bill of Rights listed the injustice done by the monarchs and demanded a set of freedoms and rights to ensure that the Parliament will always have more power over the monarch. Although the Bill of Rights was written nearly half a century after the Magna Carta, it nonetheless has elements from the Magna Carta such as the want for a representative government and the want for the elimination of cruel punishments.

The overview of my paper discusses the first ever document named the Magna Carta that helped inspire other documents known as the English Bill of Rights, and the American Declaration of Independence. The principles of the Magna Carta all tied together with these other documents. The Magna Carta influenced the other because it was the first ever document. These documents each had very important people that contributed to them. The documents discuss what the first document, the Magna Carta, states is peoples rights. Everyone has rights but must follow the laws. Some of these documents led to another after one did not work because they were not strict enough. The highlights of the documents may differ but all have the principles of the Magna Carta those being, we all have rights and no one can control you no matter how much power they have. Every document has a similar saying that we are guaranteed the rights we have been given and we have freedom. In each document there are more and more rules the people have to follow including the one that rules the country now today.

The Magna Carta was a very important document made in 1215 that established that everyone is subject to the law. Some things it said were “ no free man shall be imprisoned, disseized, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed.” It was the first document and set statements that everyone no matter how much power you have must follow the laws. This document also set many things that came later on in the United states, in place. Known as the English Bill of rights, and the American Declaration of Independence.

The Magna Carta all started when a terrible king named John, who wanted everyone to follow his rules evidently imprisoned his wife, imposed heavy taxes on his barons, and starved his opponents to death. He did things that were not right and always punished other people for his own needs. Barons had enough of him not listening so they took action and captured London which forced him to agree to their terms. People were with the barons because they were bowed to him. They had to do everything for him like pay his taxes and more so they wanted a change and were for it. There were 25 barons that participated in this. Some of which were Eustace de vesci, Robert de Ros, Richard de percy, and many more. They wrote their negotiations down to which were that the king was powerful but must be good, that the king was not all powerful and his powers must be limited, and that they would now have power over the king in June 1215 and that's when the Magna Carta was formed.

The Magna Carta was huge because it was the first document that made people have freedom and everyone equal. It also helped break down powers and limit them to the people that had them. It was very powerful because a piece of paper made an evil king listen at the moment and give everyone freedom and not have to bow down to the king. The king was the first person to sign it and he acted like he was going to listen but he was just like everyone else it thought it was just a piece of paper. Although this one piece of paper has helped create others and everyone to obey and create new laws, it was the start to it all.

This document has inspired other things that have been made later on in the United states. This document granted people rights and to not be slaves to even the most powerful person. This has helped us today in the world because we now are not controlled and have our own freedom. Like today we have presidents and we can have a voice and speak bad about them and not be killed. The principles of the Magna Carta have benefited the other documents guarenting, that every person has to follow the same rules no matter how much power you have. Each document has very important and similar principles that all contribute to one another, and have formed many laws we follow today.

The Magna Carta had more than just the king and barons that signed it. Some people were forced and other important people like the Pope signed it. Although King John said he would agree to the Magna Carta he did not. On August 24 he asked the pope to void it and he ended up dying with dysentery that year.

That left his son Henry lll all by himself at the age of 9. The world then broke out into war; he then reissued the Magna Carta again in 1217. Many people overlook king Henry, he was king until his death in 1272. Henry started off better than his dad by already bringing the Magna Carta up because if not this would have further upset people. Later on everyone noticed he was just like his father; people did not like him as king and thought he was very untrustworthy. He did the same things and started controlling people even though he re-issued the magna carta. He also needed money for wars and this began to worry the barons because they did not want to pay for it themselves. This started another war while he was king, that the barons had started just like they did with his father to once again declare their rights and not be pushed around by the king.

The English Bill of rights was formed for a constitutional monarchy in England. They thought it would be a good idea to have main leaders so people could have more options for voting. The English Bill of rights basically formed a democracy. The king and queen did not really have a bunch of power. They were a lot like our governors today; they have powers but very limited ones. The king and queens were a lot like for the show because they wanted to show people can have power but limited ones. The English Bill has had a huge input on us today. It helped us with our government and officials today. We have a president although the president is not so much for show. Presidents now have the most power over everyone and the leader of the country but we do not have to bow down and be killed if we do not support them. They are really important and have a lot more powers because they can create new laws and reinforce them. They choose when to take action and more. Even though we do not have to bow down, we do have to follow the laws these documents share and the ones the government created now today. New laws can be created but we still have to follow all the other ones.

The English Bill of rights was formed for those reasons and had many influences on other things too. The bill of rights was formed in 1689 and the idea came from William III and Mary II. The English Bill of Rights was formed soon after the Magna Carta and the Magna Carta had a huge influence on it. Many people wanted things to change back then because when certain people had power you did what they wanted for their needs. No one really had rights so the English Bill of Rights was the next important document that changed things for people. Having a democracy for people was important because their voices would be heard and they would have more freedom. They not only would have freedom but everyone would have to follow the rules the document stated. For them this meant freedom to do whatever they wanted and not worry about what the king would do to them because even people with powers had to follow the laws.

Freedom of speech was a huge part of the document because they wanted a way to speak about their king without getting killed if they spoke badly. It gave them the freedom to vote and talk however they wanted about the person in control. It also stated the limited laws of the powerful people and the things they should not do. It stated ¨monarchs do not have the divine right to rule,¨ ¨Monarch's must have consent to suspend laws, levy taxes, and maintain army, and ¨ ¨ Monarch can't interfere with parliamentary elections or debates.¨

This shows the main reason for the English Bill of Rights was to give freedom to the people that were under the powerful person. This set powerful people straight and made them follow the conditions the document stated. Because of William III and Mary II creating the Bill of Rights society has had a huge impact today because of it. We now have people with limited powers and they do not overpower us. Even the people of the United States that protect us follow the laws and if people wish to not follow the laws punishment is served to protect citizens. They will not be killed, just imprisoned. Only for the right reasons, if they are not it is breaking the law for the other person.

The English Bill of rights was like the next magna carta because the people wanted the same thing. The magna carta was brought back by King John son but even when it was brought back no one really listened. The rules were not strict enough or powerful enough for people to listen. People just thought it was just another piece of paper. The english bill of rights was when everything changed because they made sure this one would be guaranteed people would listen. They made this document more in detail for what was to hapen if people did not listen and more strict.

The American Declaration of Independence is another very important document written in June, 1776. Congress created the drafting committee with 5 people which included Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livinston, and Roger Sherman. Thomas Jefferson ended up writing it but the others helped change it to make it better. They all came in and put their thoughts in and voices to make the idea of the United States becoming independent better. Thomas Jefferson did not like many of the changes congress and the other made to it. Thomas Jefferson did not like it because his original copy was being changed. His first copy was condemning the british promotion of the slave trade even though he was a slave owner. But even though there were some confrontations with it, they became pressured by the British so they adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4. That is now celebrated as Americans Independence day.

The American Declaration of Independence was also inspired by the Magna Carta. It said that “all men are created equal” this quote from there showed us that we are all equal and gave us rights. Slavery was questioned because of this document and everyone were free from being owed and had their own freedom. The three famous words from the document are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These were other words for the American Dream. This was a chance to live it and the document gave everyone this chance and to be free.

The declaration of Independence started with the 13 colonies wanting to be free. We did not have freedom and people wanted to do something about it. The war was between Great Britain and the colonies. It was called the American revolutionary war. Random men grouped together and that is how the idea of the American declaration of independence started.

The declaration of Independence was signed while we were in war with England. We were under English law and the men that ended up signing the Declaration of Independence were tired of England taxing us and wanted to stop England from trying to rule over us. That is when the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in Philadelphia and declared war against Great Britain. Thomas Jeffereson, Samuel Adams , John Hancock, and random citizens from each colony signed it. People that signed it were all kinds of things lawyers, merchants, plantation owners and many things. During this time when they wrote the Declaration of Independence this was considered treason during that time because we were trying to start our own country when we were under the law of England and we were going behind their backs which would cause trouble if they had found out before we were successful. People quickly noticed that all the other documents were not working; everything it stated no one followed so the Declaration of Independence was the most important one. So with this document they stated that if a government tries to withhold these rights, the people are free to revolt.

With that statement it made people feel more comfortable and more reliable that they would have their right if things were not going the way they wanted. It made them feel like they had a voice in the document also. This document has been so important because it has made powerful officials and other people actually follow the laws and also have the freedom the document states. Museums show this document and it has helped us today till because we still follow the document to this day.

Before the declaration of independence was written the states were known as colonies. The declaration of independence is exactly what it says, the United States is trying to declare their independence and become independent. The declaration of independence is what basically created the United States so its birthday is the day it was signed which was July 4. This document lets us be able to celebrate as an independent country and a document that symbolizes freedom.

The many people that helped like Thomas Jefferson were representing Virginia and he is the one that wrote that all men are created equal and we should have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Samuel Adams was the leader of Massachusetts and he had a brother John Adams. They were called the Adam brothers. They both signed it and contributed to the declaration of independence. John was not very popular but he was an ambassador during the revolutionary war. There also was John Hancock he was all for the declaration of indepence. He said that he was going to write his signature so big that “ fat old king could read it without spectacles” that's what he was known for.

There were a lot of important men that signed it and started it but a lot of random people from each state were also less important and they signed it. Not only did the declaration of independence give us rights but it also helped people realize we need categories in our government and states. We got representatives for our states still and they still had limited things on what they got to do. The United states over time kept adding on states but eventually we became a whole and this is how the declaration of independence has still impacted us today.

All of these documents have a lot in common and are very important. These documents have made the United states today and made us be able to have freedom. Without these documents we could have lavery still today and segregations. That is not even the most of the bad things we still could have today. Back then things were different and we could have still had no rights and be bowed down to the king and be killed if we spoke bad about them.

The Magna Carta was the start to it all and influenced all the other documents. It was the first ever one and it was very important because without it we may not have any of the other documents. All the documents were all trying to do the same thing for all the people of the United states. That was our freedom and rights and people like Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams were trying to do that for us. Their idea to document it and make it clear that if things were not planned the people would revolt against the government. More and more ideas were made to make America what it is today.

The idea to set up a government helped us because it helped us separate our powers and divide into certain sections. Because of people coming up with the idea of creating ways to be free and separated from english law. The first documents guaranteed that we would be free. We were free from our kings but then it became bigger. We were under English law and we wanted to be divided and be our own country. Being our country meant that that one piece of paper would be what our country was gonna be like and us be individual.

The English bill of rights was an act declaring the rights and liberties of the subject. This bill was granating us rights. It made us have the ability to say what we wanted even over the different ranks of people who have certain power. On december 16 it was passed by parliament and changed our lives forever. We were subject to the laws that parliament now set.

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In conclusion the overview of this paper was about the documents that made America what it is today. Becoming an independent country and celebrating its birthday on July 4 has changed our lives today. All these documents were inspired by people and included tons of important people. These people changed our lives and they were random people just in the states that represented them individually when we became an independent country. The Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and the American Declaration of Independence have made us have rights we have today and have created laws we follow today and have changed the United states. The way we still do things and follow the laws is because of these documents.

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Comparing and Contrasting Magna Carta Vs Bill of Rights. (2021, March 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
“Comparing and Contrasting Magna Carta Vs Bill of Rights.” GradesFixer, 22 Mar. 2021,
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