April 2, 2013
POS 301Arizona/Federal Government
Professor Amanda Froes
Magna Carta (1215)
Magna Carta, also known as the Great Charter or Magna Charta, is one of the oldest documents that make up the constitution. It is an agreement between King John and his feudal barons. The King’s barons were unhappy due to the unfavorable peace with the French along with the recent defeats from the hands of the French. Civil rights were created for the barons to assure loyalty; the Magna Carte is where these rights were encoded. Most of the text of the Magna Carta is not new or unique. It came from the Charter of Liberties (another agreement between King Henry I and his nobility in 1100). The Magna Carta lays the foundation for subsequent declarations of rights and the evolution of parliamentary government in the United States by providing the basis for the idea of a higher law. Leaders of the American Revolution embraced this concept and embedded it in the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. It is also enforced by the Supreme Court.
“We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right.”
—Magna Carta (1225)
Mayflower Compact (1620)
The creation of the Mayflower Compact begins with the Pilgrims in England. Pilgrims were Protestants who did not recognize the Anglican Church authority. They formed their own Puritan church. Because they faced possible imprisonment and persecution, they fled Holland and created their own colony in the New World. This consequently ended up being in Cape Cod in what would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Pilgrims called it Plymouth. This location was outside of the two chartered joint-stocked companies of that time. So the Pilgrims considered themselves technically independent. The Mayflower Compact is what they created their own government by. This was a social contract where the forty-one men who signed it made an agreement “to...