The English Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence (D.O.I) are both documents which guaranteed and protected the rights of the citizens. Three specific rights that both documents focused on were liberty, the pursuit of happiness and self-government.
Liberty in both of these documents means freedom from despotic government or from foreign or external rule. And that is exactly what both of these documents did. More specifically, the Magna Carta limited the power of the king while the D.O.I let America obtain freedom from foreign rule, in this case, English rule. In the Magna Carta, it states, “…and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights and concessions…” and the D.O.I states, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states.”
These excepted and the ideas that these excerpts represent is very important because it protects the people. In addition, self-government is a significant ideal represent in both of the documents as well. A self-government is when a government is controlled by its own members. In other words, a democratic government, such as the one in the United States. The importance of a self government is that it creates a shared power with the people and the government and in turn, it also protects the rights of the people. In the D.O.1, it clearly states, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”, in other words, that the government gets its power from the people by letting the people indirectly choose who runs the government. By indirectly, they choose representatives to choose for them.
Another crucial ideal that is presented in both documents is the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. This is an important ideal because it gives freedom to the government’s people. In the D.O.I, this unalienable right (the pursuit of happiness) is mentioned in the first sentence of the second paragraph, “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
To conclude, the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence give rights to the people by presenting important ideals that have shaped the world that people have come love and respect.
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