2 Is there a British Constitution? In a sense, yes. While it is not written, the unwritten British Constitution is made up of common law, acts of Parliament and political customs and traditions.Three significant documents were important in the development of the British Constitution and the rights of the English people.
3 1.)The Magna CartaIn 1215, English nobles believed King John was abusing his power by forcing them to supply armies, equipment, and money for his many campaigns. Those who failed to do so were severely punished. A war transpired between the nobles and the king – a war that the nobles won.As a result, they forced the King John to sign the Magna Carta, or Great Charter.
4 The significance of the Magna Carta Government should be based on the rule of lawGovernment should be based on an agreement between the ruler and the peopleCertain basic rights may not be denied by governmentRepresentatives of the people should take part in governmentThe significance of the Magna CartaThe Magna Carta was the first document describing the rights of Englishmen. The document contains the following significant concepts which were key to the development of constitutional governments in Great Britain and America:
5 By the late 1300’s, parliament had developed into a legislature (a law making body). It eventually split into two houses (bicameral legislature) called the House of Lords and The House of Commons.The Development of Parliament Henry III, The king who followed John to the throne, met regularly with a group of nobles and Church officials to seek their advice. This group became known as Parliament
6 The Bicameral (Two-House) Parliament House of LordsAll of the Peers. They are unelected. They are nominated experts in their fields. The Prime Minister has a large say in who becomes a Peer.House of CommonsAll of the MPs elected by UK citizens in the general election. Each represents their own constituency.
7 The Petition of Right 1628While the Magna Carta established some rights for noblemen, many rights and laws continued to be violated.More than 400 years after the Magna Carta was signed, a struggle between King Charles and Parliament led to the Petition of Right.
8 Why was the Petition of Right Important? The Petition of Right limited the king’s power to tax people without the consent of Parliament.It also guaranteed English subjects certain rights such as protection from Habeas Corpus
9 The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights In the 17th Century, England suffered from lengthy civil and religious wars.Protestants and Catholics were feuding to determine which would be the established religion of EnglandThe wars ended with a Protestant victory known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688
10 The Protestant victory over King James II resulted in a law that stated English rulers must be members of the Church of England.The English Bill of Rights established the Church of England and set forth the rights and liberties of English subjects.Parliament removed King James and offered the throne to William and Mary
11 What Was Included In The English Bill of Rights? It restated the concept of Rule of LawIt established Parliamentary supremacyIt restated the concept of government by contract and consentIt established a balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches
12 Influencing American Government The English Bill of Rights, Petition of Right, and the Magna Carta served as examples for the American Bill of Rights.The most powerful example they set were how to protect rights by limiting government.
13 Our English Heritage Rule of Law – not even the ruler is above the law Representative Government – people should have a voice in governmentLimited Government – citizens have basic rights that are protected by law
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