Magna Carta is 800 years old—Still time to celebrate

The Magna Carta, or the Great Charter, is 800 years old but lives today in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Signed in 1215 under duress, this document initiated the idea of separation of powers, creating a council to work with the king. It ensured freedom of religion and due process rights. Of course, these rights were limited to the barons, but eventually this document led to more modern statements of more universal rights.

American and British lawyers and judges celebrated the 800th anniversary this past summer, but the Magna Carta could be the subject of Constitution Day programs this fall. It should be a subject for world history, U.S. history, and government, as well.

A short video found on Teacher You Tube offers a good overview of the 800 year old document and demonstrates how it lives today in our Constitution. Magna Carta Teacher History has lived on for 800 years.

Teachers may enjoy a free downloadable activity guide about the Magna Carta, available from the American Bar Association. Although the guide was prepared for the May 1, 2015 Law Day celebrations, the activities it suggests for school youth are useful year-round. <http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/public_education/LawDay2015/LawDayGuide2015.pdf>.

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September 2015Volume 2Number 1PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)