In a peaceful English meadow made riotous by armed camps, King John sealed Magna Carta, the Great Charter of English liberty, 803 years ago today.
Here are some things I have written over the years about the Great Charter:
- Magna Carta and the Right to Contract (5/17/17)
- The straight path from Runnymede to Philadelphia (6/15/16)
- How Magna Carta informed a Supreme Court case about…raisins (6/22/15)
- The True Myth of Magna Carta (6/15/15)
- Did Magna Carta Die in Vain? (10/4/12)
- Magna Carta and water rights (8/6/04)
Magna Carta may be 803 years old, but its core principles are timeless. The government serves the governed (not the other way round), is restrained by law, and provides swift and sure justice. Those principles apply today as much as they were intended to in 1215.
On a final note, Magna Carta even says something about free trade:
All merchants shall have safe and secure exit from England, and entry to England, with the right to tarry there and to move about as well by land as by water, for buying and selling by the ancient and right customs, quit from all evil tolls, except (in time of war) such merchants as are of the land at war with us. And if such are found in our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be detained, without injury to their bodies or goods, until information be received by us, or by our chief justiciar, how the merchants of our land found in the land at war with us are treated; and if our men are safe there, the others shall be safe in our land.
It would be helpful to have such a clear statement about free trade from world leaders today. When your stance is less conducive to liberty than King John’s, you might want to think again.