Magna Carta

About this Collection

Magna Carta (1215) is one of the core documents of Anglo-American legal and constitutional liberty. The books in this collection contain various copies of the charter (in both Latin and English) as well as essays about its significance.

To explore this topic further we suggest that you also look in the Forum under Key Documents and Essays on Law.

Key People

Titles & Essays

The American Republic: Primary Sources

Bruce Frohnen (editor)

The American Republic is an excellent textbook for classroom use which provides, in a single volume, critical, original documents revealing the character of American discourse on the nature and importance of local government, the…

The Concise Magna Carta: The 63 Clauses in Latin, English, and with Commentary

David M. Hart (editor)

The text, translation, and commentary have been taken from William Sharp McKechnie’s edition of 1914. The lengthly historical introduction and appendices have been removed for reasons of space. The 63 clauses are in Latin and…

An Essay on the Trial by Jury (1852)

Lysander Spooner (author)

Spooner argues that it is principle in English law going back to Magna Carta that juries had the right to determine the justice of the laws under which a person might be tried, as well as whether or not the accused is guilty.

Liberty Matters: Magna Carta after 800 Years: From liber homo to modern freedom (May, 2015)

Justin Champion (author)

This Liberty Matters discussion invited four leading historians to explain what Magna Carta was, why it has appealed to so many people over the years, the impact it has had on the development of Anglo-American legal and political…

Magna Carta Commemoration Essays

Henry Elliot Malden (editor)

A collection of essays about the history and continuing significance of Magna Carta.

Magna Carta: A Commentary

John Lackland (King John) (author)

This is a detailed and meticulous edition of Magna Carta with each clause in the original Latin, followed by an English translation and heavily annotated by the editor.

The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta and the Anglo-American Tradition of Rule of Law

John Phillip Reid (author)

This is a critical collection of essays on the origin and nature of the idea of liberty. The authors explore the development of English ideas of liberty and the relationship those ideas hold to modern conceptions of rule of law.




Sir Edward Coke explains one of the key sections of Magna Carta on English liberties (1642)

Sir Edward Coke


The legal historian Hazeltine wrote in an essay commemorating the 700th anniversary of Magna Carta that the American colonists regarded Magna Carta as the “bulwark of their rights as Englishmen” (1917)

Henry Elliot Malden

Free Trade

The right to free trade under Magna Carta (1215)

John Lackland (King John)


Under Magna Carta the King cannot impose taxes without the approval of the “common counsel” of the kingdom (1215)

John Lackland (King John)