Magna Carta and the Constitution Term Paper

Magna Carta and the Constitution

This study will focus on three sources of concepts from the U.S. Constitution in the text of the Magna Carta. They include religious freedom, the right to a speedy trial and due process of law. The study will also explain the connections between these documents using relevant examples.

The first concept is the right to religious freedom. Under this concept, the first part of the First Amendment of the constitutional bill of right of the U.S. states that the Congress will make no laws based on a religious establishment or prohibition of free exercise of religion. In the first part, the Magna Carta grants powers to God. This is confirmed by its present charter at the Church of England with its full rights and liberties, which is considered entirely free (Dickerson, Flanagan & O’Neill, 2009).

The text of Magna Carta speaks directly to the liberties under the Church of England alone; it excludes other forms of religion at a period dominated by tyranny. On the other hand, the U.S. constitution refers to liberties of all forms of religion in a fair and democratic society. The decision to worship or to worship is an individual desire and choice. The similarity is reflected in texts such as “…religion- thereof free exercise” versus “the Church of England is to be free… full liberties and rights entirely” (Vile, 2013). The two texts have employed an almost similar language derived from and alluding to a similar personal freedom. Magna Carta is simply freedom under one religion: the constitution is freedom without and within religion. Nevertheless, both documents have written about the concept of freedom of religion.

The second concept to be addressed is the due process of law. The initial section of the fourth amendment of the U.S. constitutional Bill of Rights cites “no person shall be held answerable for any capital, or infamous crime. No person shall be deprived his/her life, property or liberty in the absence of due process of law.” When compared to the Magna Carta text, it says “no man shall be imprisoned or taken his/her free liberties or tenement or outlawed, free customs or ruined, nor shall we go against such a person save by a lawful judgment by law of the land or of his peers (Urofsky & Finkelman, 2012).

The due process of law is rooted to the Magna Carta also. Evidently, the language used is almost similar; “no one shall be held” and “no man shall be taken.” In addition, “without the due process of the law” versus “save by the law of the land or legal judgment.” Besides having a similar concept, each part of the above statements, in comparison appears to be similar in rhythm and academic content (Vile, 2013).

The third concept is the freedom to a speedy trial. The initial part of the sixth amendment of the U.S. constitutional Bill of Rights writes “with regards to all criminal proceedings.” In this case, the law demands that all people must enjoy the freedom to fair and speedy trials. In comparison, the Magna Carta text affirms in the last line of section 29, “no person shall we deny, or sell justice or right” (Dickerson, Flanagan & O’Neill, 2009). Magna Carta was a source of intellectual support to the U.S. revolution. U.S. citizens claimed the right to no taxation and trial by jury without representation as Magna Carta granted them those rights.


Through a contrast of the Magna Carta and the Constitutional Bill of Rights, this study identifies the three sources of concepts from the U.S. Constitution in the text of the Magna Carta. They include due process of law, rights to a speedy trial and religious freedom. This demonstrates a new appreciation of the U.S. constitution’s history. The Magna Carta boasts of a powerful influence of establishing personal freedoms of the country dating over 800 years back (Urofsky & Finkelman, 2012). It is important to realize that our ancestors acquired the concepts from the text. They also applied them in creating a society where personal liberties are expressed in maximum width and breadth. As a result, this has given birth to a democratic and fair society.


Dickerson, M.O., Flanagan, T., & O’Neill, B. (2009). An introduction to government and politics: A conceptual approach. Toronto: Nelson Education.

Urofsky, M.I., & Finkelman, P. (2012). Documents of American constitutional and legal history. New York: Oxford University Press.

Vile, J.R. (2013). Encyclopedia of constitutional amendments, proposed amendments, and amending issues: 1789-2002. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.: ABC-CLIO

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