The Documents

Advancing the Rights of Humanity

Magna Charta

Magna Charta

A scan of the Magna Carta, signed by John of England (King John).

Short Description

First issued in 1215 as the result of an angry encounter between King John and an assembly of barons, the Magna Charta is a declaration of rights and a battle cry against oppression that inspired American colonists more than 400 years later as they sought their freedom from British rule.

Remnant Trust Description

Illuminated manuscript on parchment. Contains Magna Charta; Statues of the Realm; Register of Writs. First issued in 1215 as a result of an angry encounter, on the plains of Runnymeade between an assembly of Barons and King John over the right of the King to obtain funds from a few powerful families. It was this understanding of the Magna Charta as a declaration of the rights of “We the People” that fostered the charters written by the American colonies. The Magna Charta, the Great Charter of English liberties granted by King John in 1215 under threat of civil war, is one of the most influential documents ever published and its significance has grown immeasurably with the passage of time. The Magna Charta holds a “unique place in popular imagination, quite early in its history it became a symbol and battle cry against oppression, each successive generation reading into it a protection of their own threatened liberties.”