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The English Heritage of American Government Is there a British Constitution? In a sense, yes. While it is not written, the unwritten British Constitution.

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Presentation on theme: "The English Heritage of American Government Is there a British Constitution? In a sense, yes. While it is not written, the unwritten British Constitution."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The English Heritage of American Government

3 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.

4 1.)The Magna Carta In 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.

5 The significance of the Magna Carta Government should be based on the rule of law Government should be based on an agreement between the ruler and the people Certain basic rights may not be denied by government Representatives of the people should take part in government The 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:

6 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 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.

7 The Bicameral (Two-House) Parliament House of Lords All 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. 6 House of Commons All of the MPs elected by UK citizens in the general election. Each represents their own constituency.

8 The Petition of Right 1628 While 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.

9 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

10 The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights In the 17 th Century, England suffered from lengthy civil and religious wars. Protestants and Catholics were feuding to determine which would be the established religion of England The wars ended with a Protestant victory known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688

11 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

12 What Was Included In The English Bill of Rights? It restated the concept of Rule of Law It established Parliamentary supremacy It restated the concept of government by contract and consent It established a balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches

13 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.

14 Our English Heritage Rule of Law – not even the ruler is above the law Representative Government – people should have a voice in government Limited Government – citizens have basic rights that are protected by law


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