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Important Documents . Magna Carta. 1215 The English noblemen forced King John to approve it. Limited the power of the King and protected the rights of noblemen and freemen. This document served as a basis for provisions in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Which include:

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Magna carta
Magna Carta

  • 1215

  • The English noblemen forced King John to approve it.

  • Limited the power of the King and protected the rights of noblemen and freemen.

  • This document served as a basis for provisions in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Which include:

    • Trial by Jury

    • Approval of taxes by an elected group

    • The right to due process of law (prevents unfair imprisonment and seizure of property)


English bill of rights
English Bill of Rights

  • 1689

  • Established by William and Mary

  • Said that government should be based on laws not the ruler’s decrees. (1 of 2)


English bill of rights cont
English Bill of Rights Cont.

  • Similarities between English Bill of Rights and US Constitution:

    • Congress must approve taxes

    • Congress must meet regularly

    • Free elections

    • No excessive fines or cruel punishment

    • Freedom of speech is guaranteed


Mayflower compact
Mayflower Compact

  • Written November 1620 by the Pilgrims that came to America escaping religious persecution.

  • The Pilgrims landed in Plymouth signed this document.

  • Set up fair and equal laws.


Declaration of independence
Declaration of Independence

  • 1776

  • American colonies declare independence from Britain.

  • Based on 2 basic principles:

    • Governments gain their power from the consent of the governed. (popular sovereignty)

    • All men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Articles of confederation
Articles of Confederation

  • America’s first attempt at government.

  • It was replaced because it did not have the ability to regulate trade, levy taxes, raise an army, or regulate currency.


Federalist papers
Federalist Papers

  • 1787-1788

  • A series of essays arguing in favor of ratifying the US Constitution.

  • Argued that checks and balances would allow for a strong central government but still protect states’ rights.

  • Helped the Constitution get ratified and are still used to help interpret ittoday.


United states constitution
United States Constitution

  • America’s Second attempt at government.

    • Ratified in 1787

  • It is a combination of the Virginia and New Jersey Plan:

    • Virginia: Representation based on population (House of representatives)

    • New Jersey: Equal Representation for all states. (Senate)

  • Includes the Bill of Rights:

    • First 10 amendments

    • These cannot be changed.

    • Essential for the constitution to be ratified.

  • Usually referred to as a “living document” because of its ability to change and grow as time passes.


Emancipation proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation

  • Document issued by Abraham Lincoln.

  • Stated that all slaves living in states in armed rebellion against the union are free.

  • Did NOT abolish slavery.

  • Most slaves did not even know about the proclamation until years after it had been issued.


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