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Magna Carta - Did You Know . . .

clauses century twenty charter

  • When written, the Magna Carta's clauses applied only to those persons at the highest levels of feudal society. It was meant to protect the rights and property of England's most powerful families. It did not apply to the common folk or peasants who made up the majority of England's population. Only after many centuries was it applied to all.
  • The Magna Carta was not actually called the Magna Carta until after the November 6, 1217, revision. At that time clauses of the charter relating to the royal forest were put into a shorter document known as the Charter of Forest. The remaining clauses became known as the Magna Carta.
  • At the beginning of the twenty-first century, four copies of the Magna Carta originally produced by the royal chancery in June 1215 still survived. Two were held by the British Library in London, one was archived at Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, and one was at Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury. All were written using a quill (feather) pen and parchment (treated sheepskin).
  • Only four clauses remained part of the English legal system at the start of the twenty-first century: Clauses 1, 13, 39, and 40.
  • At the beginning of the twenty-first century, a 1297 version of the Magna Carta was displayed in the National Archives Rotunda in Washington, DC. The U.S. Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were also displayed.
  • In 1957 the American Bar Association erected a monument at Runnymede in recognition of the Magna Carta's influence on American law.
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