The Magna Carter, also known as the Great Charter of Freedoms was originated in 1215. Magna Carta was intended to prevent abuses of King John of England from ordering the arrest and punishment of a free man without lawful judgment, abuse of the barons, church officials and merchants. At that time it required for King John to surrender his major power to affirm certain rights; to respect certain legal procedures, and accept that his decisions could be restrained by the law. According to the article Meeting at Runnymede, “Magna Carta, carrying with it the idea of “the rule of law,” was reconfirmed a number of times over the next 80 years, becoming a foundation of English law. Eventually, Magna Carta would become the source of important legal concepts found in our American Constitution and Bill of Rights. Among these are the principle of no taxation without representation and the right to a fair trial under law. These foundations of our own constitutional system had their beginnings in a meadow beside a river almost 800 years ago.”
In the aftermath, Magna Carta influenced the development of the political right, individual right, federal right and to limit government control among citizens. Its protections are similar to the protections that can be found in the Amendments of the United Sates Constitution; for example, on The Original Bill of Rights- Text Version- Article VII: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
However during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, philosophers became concerned between the idea of justice and natural law. According to the article Colonialism“At least, since the Crusades and the conquest of the Americas, political theorists have struggled with the difficulty of reconciling ideas about justice and natural law with the practice of European sovereignty over non-Western peoples. In the nineteenth century, the tension between liberal thought and colonial practice became particularly acute, as the dominion of Europe over the rest of the world reached its zenith. Ironically, in the same period when most political philosophers began to defend the principles of universalism and equality, the same individuals still defended the legitimacy of colonialism and imperialism.” In addition, the Enlightenment thinkers had challenged the idea of Europeans that believed that they had the obligation to civilize the rest of the human race. During the colonization of America, hegemony was taking over the indigenous land. Philosopher Diderot believed that that indigenous people benefit from European civilization; however, European colonists are the uncivilized ones. He also claims that foreign traders and explorers have no right to take over and occupy the lands of others.
Kohn, M. (2012, April 10). Colonialism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/colonialism/
Magna Carta – Constitutional Rights Foundation. (2001). Retrieved from http://www.crf-usa.org/foundations-of-our-constitution/magna-carta.html
The Original Bill of Rights – Text Version | Freedom Documents. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/bill/text.html