Presentation on theme: "Unit 2: The Road to the U.S. Constitution The Rights of British Citizens."— Presentation transcript:
Unit 2: The Road to the U.S. Constitution The Rights of British Citizens
Overview British citizens, including the American colonists, had many political rights. These rights developed gradually over a very long period of time. Problems in the American colonies will begin when these rights are violated and/or ignored.
The Development of Rights Three documents were very important in the development of rights. These documents include:
Magna Carta 1215 King John signing the Magna Carta
Petition of Right 1628 Execution of Charles I (1649) – his rule caused the Petition of Right
Each of these documents is important because they grant specific rights and place limitations on the power of the monarch.
Rights of British Citizens Some of the rights gained from these documents include: The idea that no one, including the monarch, is above the law Trial by a jury of peers No taxes without the consent of Parliament No imprisonment without trial No “quartering of soldiers”
Rights Continued No martial law in time of peace Free elections for Parliament Right to a fair trial (due process) No cruel and unusual punishment Freedom to petition the government Freedom of speech and the right to debate Habeas Corpus The right to private property
Other Developments Two other important traditions developed gradually in England. These included: Parliament and Common Law
Parliament Kings that followed John (Magna Carta) met regularly with a group of nobles and church officials. This group of advisors grew into a representative lawmaking body by the late 1300’s. Eventually divided into two groups or houses (House of Lords and House of Commons)
Common Law Under this system, the law is based upon court precedents and/or rulings. Over time, this led to a consistency in the interpretation of laws. English citizens, including American colonists, became accustomed to a court system and the stability of the laws.