Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

Commentary Americans today are the heirs to a long chain of Anglo-American constitutional documents. The chain began with a charter issued by King Henry I in 1100. It continued through Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Right (1628), the English Bill of Rights (1688/89), and charters for the British colonies. Among the significant American documents in the chain are the Mayflower Compact (1620), the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639), the Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641), the proclamations of the First Continental Congress (1774), the Declaration of Independence (1776), constitutions of the newly independent states (1776–1786), the Articles of Confederation (1781), and the U.S. Constitution (1787). These documents itemized the structure of government, constraints on government, and the rights of the people. Each marked progress toward individual liberty and self-governance. This essay focuses on the values underlying one of the most important links in the chain: the Declaration of Independence. The …

Author: Rob Natelson

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