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Signed in 1215 by King John, the Magna Carta was the first step toward democracy in Western civilization after centuries of absolute rule by monarchies, as it bound the king of England to the same laws as any citizen. Eight hundred years later, an original copy of that document has been discovered in the small seaside English town of Sandwich.
Document That Helped Shape the U.S.
You often hear about the Framers of the Constitution, but not so much the framers of the Magna Carta.
Each Monday, this column turns a page in history to explore the discoveries, events and people that continue to affect the history being made today. It is crumbling, water-stained and written in Medieval Latin, but the Magna Carta has managed to remain relevant to the cause of human rights even today, 800 years after it was scrawled on parchment and affirmed with the sticky wax seal of the English king.
- Large; stout; burly.