11 February, 2013
I remember my high school civics teaching about the importance of the Magna Carta; for the first time, citizens, albeit the aristocracy, sought to limit the power of a monarch.
I have since learned that our concepts of trial by jury and habeas corpus were first mentioned in that charter; indicating that as early as 1215, men knew there were natural laws even kings shouldn’t violate.
The British Parliament counts its beginning from that day, but the struggle for power between the governed and their governors lasted centuries. Even during the 150 years that the colonists had been in America, Parliament was dissolved and later reinstated, war occurred between monarchs and the church, and a king was tried and executed.