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Petition of Rights - History



Petition of Rights - History

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Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s

They came, in colonies settled around Jamestown, with the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in the Massachusetts Bay, and they began what we would term the America of today. There would be treaties with the Indian nations and battles amongst warring tribes. There would be contests of wills between colonies funded and founded by British, Spanish, and French concerns. But this would be the century that began true settlement, for all its wonder and hardship and harbinger of a nation that would come.

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Image above: Lithograph by Sarony and Major, 1846, of the landing on Plymouth Rock by William Bradford and the pilgrims with the Mayflower in the distance. Courtesy Library of Congress. Right: Painting of the Signing of the Mayflower Compact, 1899, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s

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1628 Detail

June 7, 1628 - King Charles receives a Petition of Rights from the English Parliament to gain royal subsidies. Petition of Rights would influence the Massachusetts Bay Colony's Body of Liberties and the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The colonial settlements were progressing in fits and starts at Plymouth Plantation and Jamestown, with another getting ready to sail for New England, i.e. the Massachusetts Bay Colony. But all was not well with the crown. King Charles I, only three years into his reign, elevated to King on March 27, 1635 and coronated on February 2, 1636, was having trouble with Parliament, . and all he wanted to do was grant himself some subsidies, money, to live a King's lifestyle, and wage war. So he levied taxes without Parliament's consent and breached individual rights.

Charles had chosen war with Spain instead of marrying a Spanish princess, niece to King Ferdinand, to parry a diplomatic solution to the tensions between the two nations. Instead he married a Roman Catholic French princess, Henrietta Maria. The Protestants of England were not happy. They attempted to grant him the right of subsidy for one year, when all other Kings had been granted that for life. The bill did not pass the House of Lords. In November 1637, King Charles I had had enough. He levied a forced loan tax without parliamentary approval and imprisoned those who refused to pay. He added in the tenants of martial law, forcing private citizens to feed, clothe, and house soldiers and sailors.

A surprise to many, the initial ruling that these acts were illegal was overturned, granting Charles many of those taxation rights. The ruling in the Five Rights Case pushed Parliament to find a better solution. When they convened in March 1628, resolutions were discussed, with a committee crafting four in a bill by April 1. Charles disagreed with the first draft. Both sides continued negotations over the next month. On May 26-27, an altered Petition of Rights was adopted, more to the liking of Parliament then the King. On June 7, 1628, King Charles capitulated, needing money for his war, and agreed to its conditions.

And what did this Petition of Rights entail in brevity. It declared the reaffirmation of the Magna Carta and habeas corpos, and declared illegal certain actions of the Crown and state. One, taxes were illegal if not levied by Parliament. Two, individuals could not be jailed without trial or detained without charge, either by the King or privy council. Three, private citizens could not be forced to house soldiers or sailors without their free approval. Four, martial law would be restricted to use only in times of war or direct rebellion.

Within one year, King Charles I, refused to adhere to the tenants of the Petition of Rights, and issued in an eleven year stretch of Personal Rule with Parliament dissolved.

Despite those eleven years, the Petition of Rights was upheld in 1641 and remains in force in the United Kingdom and various other English commonwealths.

The Influence of the Petition of Rights on the Colonies

When the Massachusetts Bay Colony began considering a codification of its rules and regulations, they formed a commmittee for the laws on March 5, 1635 comprised of Governor John Haynes, Richard Bellingham, John Winthrop, and Thomas Dudley. Over the next six years, additional committees were involved and several drafts, one by Nathanial Ward and the other by Roger Cotton, were submitted to the General Court. They were based on elements of the Magna Carta as well as the Petition of Rights. The Body of Liberties was crafted to state what rights the individual had and not those that were not allowed.

The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights have elements of all three the Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, and the Body of Liberties, plus the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the English Bill of Rights, within the body of the document as well as its Amendments. However, four of those Amendments have particular ties to the Petition of Rights the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th.

Amendment III - No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment V - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation to be confronted with the witnesses against him to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII - In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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Full Text, Petition of Rights

The Petition exhibited to his Majesty by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, concerning divers Rights and Liberties of the Subjects, with the King's Majesty's royal answer thereunto in full Parliament.

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty,

Humbly show unto our Sovereign Lord the King, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembles, that whereas it is declared and enacted by a statute made in the time of the reign of King Edward I, commonly called Statutum de Tallagio non Concedendo, that no tallage or aid shall be laid or levied by the king or his heirs in this realm, without the good will and assent of the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, knights, burgesses, and other the freemen of the commonalty of this realm and by authority of parliament holden in the five-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III, it is declared and enacted, that from thenceforth no person should be compelled to make any loans to the king against his will, because such loans were against reason and the franchise of the land and by other laws of this realm it is provided, that none should be charged by any charge or imposition called a benevolence, nor by such like charge by which statutes before mentioned, and other the good laws and statutes of this realm, your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax, tallage, aid, or other like charge not set by common consent, in parliament.

II. Yet nevertheless of late divers commissions directed to sundry commissioners in several counties, with instructions, have issued by means whereof your people have been in divers places assembled, and required to lend certain sums of money unto your Majesty, and many of them, upon their refusal so to do, have had an oath administered unto them not warrantable by the laws or statutes of this realm, and have been constrained to become bound and make appearance and give utterance before your Privy Council and in other places, and others of them have been therfore imprisoned, confined, and sundry other ways molested and disquieted and divers other charges have been laid and levied upon your people in several counties by lord liutenants, deputy lieutenants, commissioners for musters, justices of peace and others, by command or direction from you Majesty, or your Privy Council, against the laws and free custom of the realm.

III. And whereas also by the statute called 'The Great Charter of the Liberties of England,' it is declared and enacted, that no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs, or be outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.

IV. And in the eight-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III, it was declared and enacted by authority of parliament, that no man, of what estate or condition that he be, should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.

V. Nevertheless, against the tenor of the said statutes, and other the good laws and statutes of your realm to that end provided, divers of your subjects have of late been imprisoned without any cause showed and when for their deliverance they were brought before your justices by your Majesty's writs of habeas corpus, there to undergo and receive as the court should order, and their keepers commanded to certify the causes of their detainer, no cause was certified, but that they were detained by your Majesty's special command, signified by the lords of your Privy Council, and yet were returned back to several prisons, without being charged with anything to which they might make answer according to the law.

VI. And whereas of late great companies of soldiers and mariners have been dispersed into divers counties of the realm, and the inhabitants against their wills have been compelled to receive them into their houses, and there to suffer them to sojourn against the laws and customs of this realm, and to the great grievance and vexation of the people.

VII. And whereas also by authority of parliament, in the five-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III, it is declared and enacted, that no man shall be forejudged of life or limb against the form of the Great Charter and the law of the land and by the said Great Charter and other the laws and statutes of this your realm, no man ought to be adjudged to death but by the laws established in this your realm, either by the customs of the same realm, or by acts of parliament: and whereas no offender of what kind soever is exempted from the proceedings to be used, and punishments to be inflicted by the laws and statutes of this your realm nevertheless of late time divers commissions under your Majesty's great seal have issued forth, by which certain persons have been assigned and appointed commissioners with power and authority to proceed within the land, according to the justice of martial law, against such soldiers or mariners, or other dissolute persons joining with them, as should commit any murder, robbery, felony, mutiny, or other outrage or misdemeanor whatsoever, and by such summary course and order as is agreeable to martial law, and is used in armies in time of war, to proceed to the trial and condemnation of such offenders, and them to cause to be executed and put to death according to the law martial.

VIII. By pretext whereof some of your Majesty's subjects have been by some of the said commissioners put to death, when and where, if by the laws and statutes of the land they had deserved death, by the same laws and statutes also they might, and by no other ought to have been judged and executed.

IX. And also sundry grievous offenders, by color thereof claiming an exemption, have escaped the punishments due to them by the laws and statutes of this your realm, by reason that divers of your officers and ministers of justice have unjustly refused or forborne to proceed against such offenders according to the same laws and statutes, upon pretense that the said offenders were punishable only by martial law, and by authority of such commissions as aforesaid which commissions, and all other of like nature, are wholly and directly contrary to the said laws and statutes of this your realm.

X. They do therefore humbly pray your most excellent Majesty, that no man hereafter be compelled to make or yield any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like charge, without common consent by act of parliament and that none be called to make answer, or take such oath, or to give attendance, or be confined, or otherwise molested or disquieted concerning the same or for refusal thereof and that no freeman, in any such manner as is before mentioned, be imprisoned or detained and that your Majesty would be pleased to remove the said soldiers and mariners, and that your people may not be so burdened in time to come and that the aforesaid commissions, for proceeding by martial law, may be revoked and annulled and that hereafter no commissions of like nature may issue forth to any person or persons whatsoever to be executed as aforesaid, lest by color of them any of your Majesty's subjects be destroyed or put to death contrary to the laws and franchise of the land.

XI. All which they most humbly pray of your most excellent Majesty as their rights and liberties, according to the laws and statutes of this realm and that your Majesty would also vouchsafe to declare, that the awards, doings, and proceedings, to the prejudice of your people in any of the premises, shall not be drawn hereafter into consequence or example and that your Majesty would be also graciously pleased, for the further comfort and safety of your people, to declare your royal will and pleasure, that in the things aforesaid all your officers and ministers shall serve you according to the laws and statutes of this realm, as they tender the honor of your Majesty, and the prosperity of this kingdom.

Image above: Painting of King Charles I, 1628, Gerard van Honthorst. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery via Wikipedia Commons. Image below: Scene of the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, East Wing, House of Representatives, U.S. Capitol, 1940, Howard Chandler Christy. Courtesy U.S. Capitol via Wikipedia Commons. Info source: archives.parliament.uk State Library of Massachusetts billofrightsinstitute.org archive.gov Wikipedia.

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Painting of King Charles I, 1628, Gerard van Honthorst. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery via Wikipedia Commons.


Annotation

In 1628, the position of Charles I of England had gone from bad to worse. Rash enterprises, lavish and illegal expenditure, and broken promises of better government had almost ruptured relations between the monarch and his subjects. The King offered to grant a "Confirmation of the Great Charter," such as had often been issued and then disregarded by former monarchs. The Commons refused this offer, and under the leadership of Sir Edward Coke, the members drew up and passed the Petition of Right. Charles made repeated attempts to avoid ratifying it in a legal manner. He was finally compelled to give his assent in due form.

“The Petition of Right,” 1628, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

THE PETITION EXHIBITED TO HIS MAJESTY BY THE LORDS SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL, AND COMMONS IN THIS PRESENT PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED, CONCERNING DIVERS RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES OF THE SUBJECTS, WITH THE KING'S MAJESTY'S ROYAL ANSWER THEREUNTO IN FULL PARLIAMENT.

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.

Humbly show unto our Sovereign Lord the King, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, that whereas it is declared and enacted by a statute made in the time of the reign of King Edward the First, commonly called Statutum de Tallagio non concedendo, that no tallage or aid shall be laid or levied by the King or his heirs in this realm, without the goodwill and assent of the Archbishops, Bishops, Earls, Barons, Knights, Burgesses, and other the freemen of the commonality of this realm: and by authority of Parliament holden in the five and twentieth year of the reign of King Edward the Third, it is declared and enacted, that from thenceforth no person shall be compelled to make any loans to the King against his will, because such loans were against reason and the franchise of the land and by other laws of this realm it is provided, that none should be charged by any charge or imposition, called a Benevolence, or by such like charge, by which the statutes before-mentioned, and other the good laws and statutes of this realm, your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax, tallage, aid, or other like charge, not set by common consent in Parliament:

Yet nevertheless, of late divers commissions directed to sundry Commissioners in several counties with instructions have issued, by means whereof your people have been in divers places assembled, and required to lend certain sums of money unto your Majesty, and many of them upon their refusal so to do, have had an oath administered unto them, not warrantable by the laws or statutes of this realm, and have been constrained to become bound to make appearance and give attendance before your Privy Council, and in other places, and others of them have been therefore imprisoned, confined, and sundry other ways molested and disquieted: and divers other charges have been laid and levied upon your people in several counties, by Lords Lieutenants, Deputy Lieutenants, Commissioners for Musters, Justices of Peace and others, by command or direction from your Majesty or your Privy Council, against the laws and free customs of this realm:

And where also by the statute called, "The Great Charter of the Liberties of England," it is declared and enacted, that no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be dispossessed of his freeholds or liberties, or his free customs, or be outlawed or exiled or in any manner destroyed, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land:

And in the eight and twentieth year of the reign of King Edward the Third, it was declared and enacted by authority of Parliament, that no man of what estate or condition that he be, should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disherited, nor put to death, without being brought to answer by due process of law:

Nevertheless, against the tenor of the said statutes, and other the good laws and statutes of your realm, to that end provided, divers of your subjects have of late been imprisoned without any cause showed, and when for their deliverance they were brought before your Justices, by your Majesty's writs of Habeas Corpus, there to undergo and receive as the Court should order, and their keepers commanded to certify the causes of their detainer no cause was certified, but that they were detained by your Majesty's special command, signified by the Lords of your Privy Council, and yet were returned back to several prisons, without being charged with anything to which they might make answer according to the law:

And whereas of late great companies of soldiers and mariners have been dispersed into divers counties of the realm, and the inhabitants against their wills have been compelled to receive them into their houses, and there to suffer them to sojourn, against the laws and customs of this realm, and to the great grievance and vexation of the people:

And whereas also by authority of Parliament, in the five and twentieth year of the reign of King Edward the Third, it is declared and enacted, that no man shall be forejudged of life or limb against the form of the Great Charter, and the law of the land: and by the said Great Charter and other the laws and statutes of this your realm, no man ought to be adjudged to death but by the laws established in this your realm, either by the customs of the same realm or by Acts of Parliament: and whereas no offender of what kind soever is exempted from the proceedings to be used, and punishments to be inflicted by the laws and statutes of this your realm: nevertheless of late time divers commissions under your Majesty's Great Seal have issued forth, by which certain persons have been assigned and appointed Commissioners with power and authority to proceed within the land according to the justice of martial law against such soldiers or mariners, or other dissolute persons joining with them, as should commit any murder, robbery, felony, mutiny, or other outrage or misdemeanour whatsoever, and by such summary course and order, as is agreeable to marital law, and is used in armies in time of war, to proceed to the trial and condemnation of such offenders, and them to cause to be executed and put to death, according to the law martial:

By pretext whereof, some of your Majesty's subjects have been by some of the said Commissioners put to death, when and where, if by the laws and statutes of the land they had deserved death, by the same laws and statutes also they might, and by no other ought to have been, judged and executed:

And also sundry grievous offenders by colour thereof, claiming an exemption, have escaped the punishments due to them by the laws and statutes of this your realm, by reason that divers of your officers and ministers of justice have unjustly refused, or forborne to proceed against such offenders according to the same laws and statutes, upon pretence that the said offenders were punishable only by martial law, and by authority of such commissions as aforesaid, which commissions, and all other of like nature, are wholly and directly contrary to the said laws and statutes of this your realm:

They do therefore humbly pray, your Most Excellent Majesty, that no man hereafter be compelled to make or yield any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like charge, without common consent by Act of Parliament and that none be called to make answer, or take such oath, or give attendance, or be confined, or otherwise molested or disquieted concerning the same, or for refusal thereof and that no freeman, in any such manner as is before-mentioned, be imprisoned or detained and that your Majesty will be pleased to remove the said soldiers and mariners, and that your people may not be so burdened in time to come and that the aforesaid commissions for proceeding by marital law, may be revoked and annulled and that hereafter no commissions of like nature may issue forth to any person or persons whatsoever, to be executed as aforesaid, lest by colour of them any of your Majesty's subjects be destroyed or put to death, contrary to the laws and franchise of the land.

All which they most humbly pray of your Most Excellent Majesty, as their rights and liberties according to the laws and statutes of this realm: and that your Majesty would also vouchsafe to declare, that the awards, doings, and proceedings to the prejudice of your people, in any of the premises, shall not be drawn hereafter into consequence or example: and that your Majesty would be also graciously pleased, for the further comfort and safety of your people, to declare your royal will and pleasure, that in the things aforesaid all your officers and ministers shall serve you, according to the laws and statutes of this realm, as they tender the honour of your Majesty, and the prosperity of this kingdom.

Credits

Guy Carleton Lee, Source-Book of English History (New York: Henry Holt, 1901), 348–52.


The State Constitution Origins of the U.S. Bill of Rights

Content of Bill of Rights
No Established Religion/Favored Sect
Rights of Conscience/Free Exercise
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Press
Freedom of Assembly
Freedom to Petition
Keep and Bear Arms/Militia
Quartering of Troops
Double Jeopardy
Self Incrimination
Due Process of Law
Takings/Just Compensation
No Excessive Bail and Fines
No Cruel and/or Unusual Punishments
No Unreasonable Searches/Seizures
Speedy/Public Trial in Criminal Cases
Nature of Accusation
Confrontation of Witnesses
Compulsory Witness
Assistance of Counsel
Rights Retained by the People
$ Limitation on Appeals
Common Law and Jury Trial
(Local) Impartial Jury for All Crimes
Grand Jury for Loss of Life or Limb
Reservation of Nondelegated Powers
Totals 17 6 20 19 17 17 7 8 6 20 20 5 2 5 8

Introduction

On May 15, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued a “Resolve” to the thirteen colonial assemblies: “adopt such a government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general.” Between 1776 and 1780, elected representatives met in deliberative bodies–as founders–and chose republican governments. Connecticut and Rhode Island retained their colonial charters, but the other eleven reaffirmed the American covenanting tradition and created governments dedicated to securing rights. What transpired was the most extensive documentation of the rights of the people the world had ever witnessed.

We have reproduced three state constitutions: Virginia, the first to be written and adopted one week prior to the Declaration of Independence New Jersey, adopted on July 2, 1776, and the first to exclude a prefatory bill of rights and Pennsylvania, the third constitution adopted and considered the most radical. Together, they capture the diversity and uniformity of the revolutionary conversation over bicameralism, separation of powers, length of service, and how rights were to be secured by a republican frame of government. They express the American covenanting tradition–reinforced by the enlightenment doctrine of natural rights–that it is the right of the people to choose their form of government. These constitutions are practical expressions of the ideal that government ought to be founded on deliberation and consent rather than accident and force.

Seven states attached a prefatory declaration of rights to the frame of government: Virginia (June 1776), Delaware (September 1776), Pennsylvania (September 1776), Maryland (November 1776), North Carolina (December 1776), Massachusetts (March 1780), and New Hampshire (June 1784). These declarations were, in effect, a preamble stating the purposes for which the people have chosen the particular form of government. There is a remarkable uniformity among the seven states with regard to the kinds of civil and criminal rights that were to be secured. The Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts Declarations capture both the similarity, and the subtle differences, given to “the free exercise of religion,” “the establishment of religion,” the freedom of press, the right to petition, the right to bear arms, the quartering of troops, the protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, the centrality of trial by jury, the right to confrontation of witnesses and the right to counsel, the importance of “due process of law,” and the protection against excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment.

Four of the states decided not to “prefix” a bill of rights to their newly founded republican constitutions: New Jersey (July 1776), Georgia (February 1777), New York (April 1777), and South Carolina (March 1778). Nevertheless, each had prefaces confirming the authority of the covenanting tradition and also incorporated individual protections into the body of their constitutions.

Virginia. The Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted by the House of Burgesses in June 1776. Among the delegates were George Mason, the most important contributor, and twenty-five-year-old James Madison who drafted the section on the “free exercise of religion.” The “rights” listed in the first five sections might strike the contemporary reader as odd it is important to remember, however, that among the most fundamental rights articulated by the revolutionary generation was the right of the people to choose their form of government. Sections six through fourteen cover familiar ground. Most of the civil rights and criminal procedures listed were part of the Americanized version of the “rights of Englishmen” tradition. Section fifteen reflects the traditional republican argument that free government could survive only if the people were virtuous. Because colonial America turned to religion to perform this important political function, there was a presumption that religion had an “established” status. In 1776, the Anglican church was the established church of Virginia, and there is nothing in the Virginia Bill of Rights that challenges this establishment. On the other hand, Madison’s natural right argument, incorporated in section sixteen, challenged the public dimension of religion on the ground that the exercise of religion should be “free” of “force or violence.”

The same Convention also framed and adopted the Virginia Constitution. The first, and longest, section anticipates the Declaration of Independence: Twenty-one separate indictments are listed against King George. Section two provides the authorization for establishing a new foundation. Sections three through thirteen pertain to the bicameral legislature and the remainder focuses on the election of executive officers. Section twenty-one lays the foundation for the Northwest and Southwest Territories.

New Jersey. The 1776 New Jersey Constitution, framed by a convention that met from May 26 through July 3, was the second to be adopted and the first to omit a prefatory Bill of Rights. Nevertheless, the constitution appeals to “the nature of things” and the American covenanting tradition. Moreover, civil rights and criminal procedures are addressed in four of the thirty-nine articles. Article XVI provides that “all criminals shall be admitted to the same privileges of witness and counsel, as their prosecutors doe or shall be entitled to,” and Article XXII confirms the common law tradition with the trial by jury being given permanent protection. Two articles address the issue of religious rights. Article XVIII guarantees to all “the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience,” and proclaims that no one shall ever be obliged to support financially any ministry “contrary to what he believes to be right, or has deliberately or voluntarily engaged himself to perform.” Article XVIX states that there “shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Province, in preference to another,” and that all persons of “any Protestant sect…shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects.” New Jersey was the first state to prohibit the establishment of a specific sect as the official religion.

Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Constitution, prefaced by a Preamble and Declaration of Rights, was framed by a specially-elected convention that met from mid-July to the end of September 1776. Although the document was not submitted to the people for ratification, it expresses the radical dimension of the conversation over what frame of government would best secure the rights of the people: Pennsylvania was the only state to choose a unicameral rather than a bicameral legislature. Although the legislature was very powerful, the constitution calls for an “open” assembly with policymaking taking place under the full scrutiny of an informed electorate. In section forty-seven, the framers created an elected Council of Censors to provide periodic review of the operation of the laws and institutions “in order that the freedom of the commonwealth may be preserved inviolate for ever.” This model was subsequently praised by Jefferson in his Notes on Virginia and criticized by Madison in Federalist 47-51.

John Adams’s 1779 judgment that the Pennsylvania Bill of Rights “is taken almost verbatim from that of Virginia” is correct as far as it concerns the common law tradition. Nevertheless, all sixteen deserve to be reproduced in their entirety in order to appreciate the remarkable uniformity and subtle differences among the states. It is particularly important to note that Pennsylvania repeats the claim that “a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty,” and that only Christians are eligible to hold office. Also noteworthy are the sections dealing with searches and seizures, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, “the natural inherent right to emigrate,” and the right to assemble.

Delaware. The Delaware Declaration of Rights followed Pennsylvania and appealed to natural rights and the common law tradition. Of particular interest is the concern for the political rights of the people: the right to hold officials accountable, the right to participate in government and to petition for redress of grievances, and the right to no ex post facto laws.

Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights and Constitution, drafted over a six-month period, was adopted in spring 1780. It was the first to be ratified by the people rather than by the people’s representatives. Actually, the 1780 Constitution was a revised version of the 1778 Constitution rejected in large part because of the absence of a Bill of Rights. The town of Boston declared “that all Forms of Government should be prefaced by a Bill of Rights in this we find no Mention of any.” Eleven towns also objected to the denial of the right of suffrage to free “negroes, Indians, and mulattoes” in Article V. The Essex Result–the combined judgment of the twelve towns of Essex County reached at a county convention–also expressed concern that the foundation was illegitimate because the people were excluded from the adoption process.

The Massachusetts Preamble confirmed the “right of the people to set up what government they believe will secure their safety, prosperity, and happiness.” The provisions in “Part the First” dealing with search and seizure, self-incrimination, confrontation of witnesses, self-incrimination, cruel and unusual punishments, freedom of press, the right to petition, and that no one shall be deprived of “life, liberty, or estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land,” were common among all the states that adopted a Bill of Rights. Massachusetts, also included specific political rights of the people: the right to no ex post facto laws, frequent elections, an independent judiciary, and the right to a strict separation of governmental powers “to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men.” As was the case in Virginia and Pennsylvania, the need for “piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality” was listed in the Bill of Rights. What is distinctive about Massachusetts is that the virtue of the people was to be secured by established religion. The third “right” was that of the citizens to support, financially, the establishment of Protestantism as the public religion. To be sure, no one particular sect would be given preference over another all were “equally under the protection of the law” and the “free exercise” of religion was protected.

Taken from: https://teachingamericanhistory.org/bor/origins-chart/

Preparing to Teach this Lesson

Prior to teaching this lesson the teacher should cover content related to the Articles of Confederation and its weaknesses. The teacher should familiarize her/himself and students with Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Gordon Lloyd has presented the content of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as a Four Act Drama. Students and teacher should also be familiar with Ratification of the Constitution, and the Federalist and Antifederalist Debates.

Analyzing primary sources:

If your students lack experience in dealing with primary sources, you might use one or more preliminary exercises to help them develop these skills. The Learning Page at the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress includes a set of such activities. Another useful resource is the Digital Classroom of the National Archives, which features a set of Document Analysis Worksheets. Finally, History Matters offers pages on “Making Sense of Maps” and “Making Sense of Oral History” which give helpful advice to teachers in getting their students to use such sources effectively.

Suggested Activities

Introductory Activity: KWL

Time required for activity: In class activity 20 minutes.

Students will complete a KWL chart to determine what students know about the origins of the U.S. Bill of Rights in relation to English, colonial America, and revolutionary America.

Students should record their responses on the KWL graphic organizer lesson resource. First, students should complete the K column to demonstrate what they know about the origins of the U.S Bill of Rights. The teacher should debrief with students and then provide students time to complete the W portion of the graphic organizer. The W portion of the graphic organizer allows students to reflect on what additional information they would like to know about the origins of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Students should use the tables Content Bill of Rights and State Constitutions and Content Bill of Rights and English and Colonial Roots or the Excel spreadsheet/chart on the Origins of the Bill of Rights to complete the W portion of the graphic organizer.

After the activity on the Origins of U.S. Bill of Rights has been completed, students should complete the L section of the graphic organizer to indicate what they learned about the origins of the U.S. Bill of Rights from analyzing English and colonial America documents and State Constitutions.

Depending on student content vocabulary readiness the teacher may need to review vocabulary used in English and colonial America documents and State Constitutions. One way to review is to use a word wall. The teacher will tell students that the class will be adding several words to the word wall today. Word walls are a literacy strategy that may be used before reading (explicit teaching and modeling), during reading (guided practice) and after reading (guided practice). For guidance on how to use “word walls” with secondary students please see the U.S. Government lesson plan on the CCSSO Adolescent Literacy Toolkit Social Studies page:

http://programs.ccsso.org/projects/adolescent_literacy_toolkit/resources_for_teachers/10620.php

Activity: Structured Academic Controversy

Time required for activity: In class activity three 45-minute class periods or two 45-minute class periods with homework.

The purpose of a Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) is to utilize structure in order to facilitate instructional conversation. Participating in a SAC allows students to actively participate in a conversation/class discussion, develop a deeper understanding about a topic, and reflect on their learning. The topic of debate for this lesson is, “Are the origins of the U.S. Bill of Rights more English, colonial America or revolutionary America?” The lesson will conclude by students responding to a document-based essay question in which students are asked to analyze English documents, colonial America documents, and State Constitutions and justify if the rights within the U.S. Bill of Rights are more inherited from the English and/or Colonial traditions or created during the revolutionary period (1776 – 1787) in the United States.

To prepare for the SAC, the teacher should divide the class into three large groups representing the English, colonial America, and revolutionary America. Each group is responsible for drafting an argument that cites how their group’s historical documents were the most influential in determining the rights included in the U.S. Bill of Rights. The question for the SAC is: Are the rights within the U.S. Bill of Rights more inherited from the English and/or Colonial traditions or created from the revolutionary period (1776 – 1787) in the United States?

Based on group assignment, students will read either the full text, portions of text or summarized text (based on teacher discretion). The English group will read the Magna Carta, Petition of Right, and English Bill of Rights. The Colonist will read: the Massachusetts Body of Liberties, Pennsylvania Frame of Government, and Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges. The American group will read the following Declarations and/or State Constitutions: Virginia Declaration of Rights and Constitution, Constitution of New Jersey, Pennsylvania Bill of Rights, Delaware Declaration of Rights and Constitution, and Declaration and Constitution of Massachusetts.

All summaries are written by Gordon Lloyd and can be accessed from the TeachingAmericanHistory.org Bill of Rights website. In addition to accessing the summaries on the website, relevant portions of the primary source documents have each been included with this lesson in order for teachers to modify them to address different needs of students.

Depending on student content vocabulary readiness the teacher may need to review vocabulary used in English and colonial America documents and State Constitutions. One way to review is to use a word wall. The teacher will tell students that the class will be adding several words to the word wall today. Word walls are a literacy strategy that may be used before reading (explicit teaching and modeling), during reading (guided practice) and after reading (guided practice). For guidance on how to use “word walls” with secondary students please see the U.S. Government lesson plan on the CCSSO Adolescent Literacy Toolkit Social Studies page:

http://programs.ccsso.org/projects/adolescent_literacy_toolkit/resources_for_teachers/10620.php

Prior to participating in the SAC, the teacher should review the norms of the SAC.

The Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) Norms

  • Be respectful of each other.
  • Disagree with another person’s position and ideas but don’t be critical of the person.
  • Don’t take criticism of your ideas as a personal attack.
  • Listen to everyone’s ideas, especially if you don’t agree with them.
  • Change your mind when the evidence supports this.
  • Try to understand both sides of the controversy.
  • Understand the position differences before trying to reach consensus.
  • Focus on reaching the best outcome, not on winning.

Preparing for the SAC

(A SAC PowerPoint has been included that summarized the steps and can be shared with students).

Step 1:Preparing your position

In small groups, read your assigned primary source documents based on your role. As a team, agree on the three key documents and JOT DOWN your key arguments supporting your assigned position on the SAC topic. You are preparing to collaboratively present your ideas to the groups opposing your position so use these notes to assist you with your presentation. Final ideas should be summarized on the SAC Handout.

Step 2: Presenting positions and listening for understanding

English, Colonists, and American groups will have 5 minutes to present and explain their key ideas and arguments. When your assigned group is not presenting, group members will LISTEN and TAKE NOTES on the SAC Handout with the goal of understanding the other positions. Once each group has presented their ideas, other group members may ask questions for clarification.

Step 3: Presenting the opposing viewpoint

The “American” group now has 3 minutes to present their understanding of the position and arguments of the “English” group. This is done using notes taken previously on the SAC Handout. “English” group members can clarify as needed.

The “English” group now has 3 minutes to present their understanding of the position and arguments of the “Colonist” group. This is done using notes taken previously on the SAC Handout. “Colonist” group members can clarify as needed.

The “Colonist” group now has 3 minutes to present their understanding of the position and arguments of the “American” group. This is done using notes taken previously on the SAC Handout. “American” group members can clarify as needed.

Step 4: Consensus-Building: Open conversation about the SAC topic within the small group

English, Colonists, and American group members will shed their assigned positions and the group discusses the SAC topic from group members’ individual perspectives. The goals are identifying areas of agreement and disagreement and possible solutions to the SAC topic. Note for teacher: Keep in mind the solution may be that the origins of the Bill of Rights blend the ideas of English, Colonial, and American. After the SAC, students may or may not be completely tied to his/her assigned group related to the origins of the Bill of Rights.

Step 5: Large group discussion of SAC topic and debrief the SAC process

Adapted from: http://teachinghistory.org/teaching-materials/teaching-guides/21731

After completing the activity, students should return to their KWL chart and complete the L portion of the KWL graphic organizer.

Assessment:

After completing this lesson, students should individually be able to write a response to the following question:

Origins of the Bill of Rights

English Documents Colonial Documents State Constitutions
Magna Carta Massachusetts Body of Liberties Virginia Declaration of Rights and Constitution
Petition of Right Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges Constitution of New Jersey
English Bill of Rights Pennsylvania Frame of Government Pennsylvania Bill of Rights
Declaration and Constitution of Massachusetts

Use the tables Content Bill of Rights and State Constitutions and Content Bill of Rights and English and Colonial Roots or the Excel spreadsheet/chart on the Origins of the Bill of Rights and select three documents from the Origins of the Bill of Rights table above that you feel had the greatest influence on the U.S. Bill of Rights. Analyze the tables and your selected three documents and justify by citing evidence from your selected documents, if the rights within the U.S. Bill of Rights are more inherited from the English and/or Colonial traditions or created from the revolutionary period (1776 – 1787) in the United States.

Scoring Criteria:

Note: A general look-for document has been provided for the teacher highlighting the rights found in English, Colonial, and State Constitutions and their alignment with the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Credit will be fully rewarded if the response:

  1. thoroughly addresses all aspects of the task by accurately interpreting the tables and documents, plus incorporates outside information related to the documents.
  2. discusses all aspects of the task and supports with accurate facts, examples and details.
  3. weighs the importance, reliability and validity of the evidence.
  4. analyzes conflicting perspectives presented in the documents and weaves the documents into the body of the essay.
  5. includes a strong introduction and conclusion.

Credit will be reduced if the response:

  • does not recognize the reliability, validity, or perspectives of the documents.
  • reiterates the content of the documents with little or no use of outside information.
  • discusses the documents in a descriptive rather than analytic manner.
  • shows little recognition of the tasks, lacked an introduction or conclusion.

Extending the Lesson:

Extension 1: Create a visual representation of the 26 rights contained within the Bill of Rights and the origin of each right.

Extension 2: Write an editorial that summarizes the 26 rights included within the Bill of Rights and makes the public question the origins of the rights as more British (English tradition or colonial America) or revolutionary America by citing English, Colonial, and State Constitution historical documents to support your perspective.


Dec. 17, 1951: “We Charge Genocide” Petition Submitted to United Nations

On December 17, 1951, Paul Robeson and William Patterson submitted a petition from the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) to the United Nations. Titled, “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People,” the petition was signed by almost 100 U.S. intellectuals and activists. Robeson led a delegation to present the document at U.N. Headquarters in New York, while CRC Secretary Patterson delivered it to a U.N. meeting in Paris.

W. E. B. Du Bois was scheduled to accompany Patterson to Paris, but the U.S. State Department prevented him from leaving the country.

The book-length petition documented hundreds of lynching cases and other forms of brutality and discrimination, evincing a clear pattern of government inaction and complicity.

It charged that in the 85 years since the end of slavery more than 10,000 African Americans were known to have been lynched (an average of more than 100 per year), and that the full number can never be known because the murders are often unreported.

The petition cited the UN’s definition of genocide: “Any intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial, or religious group is genocide.” The petition concluded therefore, that

. . .the oppressed Negro citizens of the United States, segregated, discriminated against, and long the target of violence, suffer from genocide as the result of the consistent, conscious, unified policies of every branch of government. If the General Assembly acts as the conscience of mankind and therefore acts favorably on our petition, it will have served the cause of peace.

With the Cold War raging, the U.S. government maneuvered to prevent the United Nations from formally debating or even considering the charges brought in the petition. Working behind the scenes, they were able to prevent any discussion of the petition by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

When one of the American delegates to the U.N. criticized William Patterson for “attacking your government,” Patterson replied, “It’s your government. It’s my country. I am fighting to save my country’s democratic principles.”

The U.S. corporate media gave scant coverage to the petition or the crimes it documents. The CRC is labeled a “Communist front organization,” and the few Government officials who comment on the petition describe it as “Communist propaganda.” Elsewhere in the world, however, it was well received and extensively covered in the press. In Europe, Africa, and Asia where the U.S. is competing against the Soviet Union and China for political influence, the document weakens American “Free World” claims and its assertion of global moral leadership, particularly among nonwhite peoples struggling against colonial rule.

As the Black Freedom Movement gathered strength in the following years, Cold War geo-politics influenced Washington’s reaction to major events like the Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, ‘Ole Miss, and so on.

On his return to the United States, Patterson’s passport was seized by the State Department so he could no longer speak to foreign audiences about the denial of human rights endured by African Americans and other people of color.

Robeson too was prevented from leaving the country. They and other CRC leaders were harassed and persecuted by the FBI and other federal agencies for the rest of their lives.

Learn more from the related resources below.

Related Resources

How to Make Amends: A Lesson on Reparations

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, Alex Stegner, Chris Buehler, Angela DiPasquale, and Tom McKenna.
Students meet dozens of advocates and recipients of reparations from a variety of historical eras to grapple with the possibility of reparations now and in the future.

Burning Tulsa: The Legacy of Black Dispossession

Article. By Linda Christensen. If We Knew Our History Series.
Students need to learn the hidden history of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre and how this links to racial wealth inequality today.

Disguising Imperialism: How Textbooks Get the Cold War Wrong and Dupe Students

Article. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. If We Knew Our History series.
Too often, when it comes to U.S. Cold War interventions, the official curriculum is sanitized and disjointed, leaving students ill-equipped to make sense out of their nation’s global bullying.

Remembering Red Summer — Which Textbooks Seem Eager to Forget

The racist riots of 1919 happened 100 years ago this summer. Confronting a national epidemic of white mob violence, 1919 was a time when Black people defended themselves, fought back, and demanded full citizenship in thousands of acts of courage and daring, small and large, individual and collective.

Ballad of an American: A Graphic Biography of Paul Robeson

Book – Non-fiction. Written and illustrated by Sharon Rudahl. Edited by Paul Buhle and Lawrence Ware. 2020. 142 pages. The first-ever graphic biography of Paul Robeson charts Robeson’s career as a singer, actor, scholar, athlete, and activist who achieved global fame.

Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson

Book — Non-fiction. By Barbara Ransby. 2013. 373 pages.
This biography of cosmopolitan anthropologist Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson explores her influence on her husband’s early career, their open marriage, and her life as a prolific journalist, a tireless advocate of women’s rights, and an outspoken anti-colonial and antiracist activist.

News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media

Book – Non-fiction. By Juan González and Joseph Torres. 2011.
The history of media in the United States, through the lens of race.

June 12, 1956: Paul Robeson Testifies Before HUAC

Paul Robeson testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, where he was questioned about his political speech, associations, and party affiliation.


Famous Petitions in History

GoPetition now lists petitions of historical significance. These petitions are of great interest to historians, genealogists, census experts and social scientists. Photo images of the petitions are attached if available. Famous petitions in history have often changed the world in significant ways.

Women's Suffrage Petition (1891) : Victoria, Australia

In an extraordinary effort to gain the right to vote for all Victorian women, a handful of dedicated women took to the streets in 1891 to collect signatures for a petition to present to the Parliament of Victoria. The result was an impressive collection of close to 30,000 signatures from… more

The Olive Branch Petition 1775

". the apprehensions which now oppress our hearts with unspeakable grief, being once removed, your Majesty will find your faithful subjects on this continent ready and willing at all times. to assert and maintain the rights and interests of your Majesty and of our Mother Country." - Extract from the Olive Branch… more

Bendigo Goldfields Petition 1853

The 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition from Victoria, Australia, is 13 metres in length and bound in green silk. Drawn up in mid-1853, the petition was signed by over 5000 diggers on the Victorian goldfields who were angry about the mining licence fees imposed by the government and the system by which… more

The Women's Petition Against Coffee 1674

When coffee was first introduced into England in the late 1600s, it was largely drunk by men only, and in coffeehouses rather than at home. Doctors welcomed this as a substitute for drinking alcohol in taverns, but married women were not so happy with the new drink. In 1674 a… more

Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963

The Yirrkala bark petitions 1963 of Australia are the first documents bridging Commonwealth law as it then stood, and the Indigenous laws of the land. These petitions from the Yolngu people of Yirrkala were the first traditional documents recognised by the Commonwealth Parliament and are thus the documentary recognition of… more

Petition for Reprieve of Ned Kelly 1880

After the infamous Australian bushranger and iconic legend, Ned Kelly, was sentenced to death by Irish-born judge Sir Redmond Barry, Ned Kelly's friends and family, along with David Gaunson (the parliamentarian) organised a petition for reprieve and did their best to obtain as many signatures as possible to try and save… more

The Great Chartist petitions of 1839 to 1848

Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century between 1838 and 1848. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838, which stipulated the six main aims of the movement as: * Suffrage for all men age 21 and over… more

1897 Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaii

The Republic of Hawaii was the formal name of Hawaii from 1894 to 1898 when it was run as a republic. The republic period occurred between the administration of the Provisional Government of Hawaii which ended on July 4, 1894 and the adoption of the Newlands Resolution in Congress in… more


The Petition of Right

From shortly after his accession, King Charles I (r. 1625&ndash49) found himself in a series of confrontations with his Parliaments, notably over the management of his war with Spain. In 1626, having failed to receive a grant of taxation for the war, Charles resorted to a forced loan, effectively a tax which had not been authorised by Parliament. This forced loan met substantial resistance, with some prominent gentlemen being imprisoned for their refusal to comply. When five of those men (the Five Knights) tried to secure their freedom by issuing a writ of habeas corpus, the Crown argued that it had the power to commit people to prison at its own discretion, without stating a specific, legal reason.

By 1628 Charles had no option but to turn again to Parliament. When it met, the House of Commons expressed its determination to secure a strong commitment from the King to observe the rule of law, since the Crown was held to have breached the spirit of clause 39 of Magna Carta. The Commons asserted their interpretation of the law by presenting Charles with a &lsquoPetition of Right&rsquo, rather than a formal bill, implying that they were claiming the subject&rsquos existing rights, rather than creating new ones. The idea of the Petition of Right was suggested by Edward Coke, and it made explicit reference to the imprisonment of the Five Knights being contrary to &lsquoThe Great Charter of the Liberties of England&rsquo. Once it had the reluctant assent of Charles &ndash endorsed in his hand &lsquosoit droit fait comme est desiré&rsquo &ndash the Petition was regarded as having the same status as an Act of Parliament, and was therefore as strong a guarantee of the subject&rsquos rights as Magna Carta itself.


HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Originally, people had rights only because of their membership in a group, such as a family. Then, in 539 BC, Cyrus the Great, after conquering the city of Babylon, did something totally unexpected—he freed all slaves to return home. Moreover, he declared people should choose their own religion. The Cyrus Cylinder, a clay tablet containing his statements, is the first human rights declaration in history.

The idea of human rights spread quickly to India, Greece and eventually Rome. The most important advances since then have included:

1215: The Magna Carta—gave people new rights and made the king subject to the law.

1628: The Petition of Right—set out the rights of the people.

1776: The United States Declaration of Independence—proclaimed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

1789: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen—a document of France, stating that all citizens are equal under the law.

1948: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the first document listing the 30 rights to which everyone is entitled.

For a more in-depth look at the history of human rights, go to the United for Human Rights website.


Disability Rights History at American Landmark Needs to be Told

The FDR Memorial is a landmark for the disability rights movement. In 1995, over 50 disability rights organizations, non-profits, and activists launched a battle to add a depiction of FDR in his wheelchair to the larger FDR Memorial that was under construction in Washington, DC at the time.

When the Memorial was dedicated in 1997, FDR's disability was hidden. This changed in 2001 when the disability community prevailed and a statue of FDR seated in a wheelchair was added. Now 20 years later, the Memorial remains an epicenter that embodies the power and pride of the disability community however, there is no information about the epic fight led by people with disabilities. Our history is missing. And to make matters worse, the Memorial needs accessibility improvements and is in need of major repairs.

The National Park Service is responsible for the Memorial. Its non-profit partners, the Trust for the National Mall and the congressionally chartered National Park Foundation, also play a large role.

We need your help to push them to:

  1. Tell the National Park Service to use the FDR Endowment Fund for an education program to tell the story about the disability community’s epic and historic fight for representation! (Not a penny from that Fund, which was set up for education and extraordinary repairs, has been used for education.)
  2. Improve and upgrade the access and inclusion for all visitors.
  3. Prioritize maintenance and repairs at the Memorial using funds available from the newly signed Great American Outdoors Act.

The mission of the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee (FDR Committee) is to document, share and preserve the leadership and legacy of the disability community’s campaign for disability representation at the FDR Memorial in DC, and to promote education on other underrepresented stories and research about FDR, Eleanor and their times.

The FDR Committee brings together historians, disability and civil rights advocates, artists, academics, leaders in government, business and non-profits, and interested people across the country, and operates under the non-profit status of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), which serves as a fiscal sponsor.

Visit us to learn more about the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn


Petition of Right

1628, a statement of civil liberties sent by the English Parliament to Charles I Charles I,
1600�, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625󈞝), second son of James I and Anne of Denmark. Early Life

He became heir to the throne on the death of his older brother Henry in 1612 and was made prince of Wales in 1616.
. Click the link for more information. . Refusal by Parliament to finance the king's unpopular foreign policy had caused his government to exact forced loans and to quarter troops in subjects' houses as an economy measure. Arbitrary arrest and imprisonment for opposing these policies had produced in Parliament a violent hostility to Charles and George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham. The Petition of Right, initiated by Sir Edward Coke Coke, Sir Edward
, 1552�, English jurist, one of the most eminent in the history of English law. He entered Parliament in 1589 and rose rapidly, becoming solicitor general and speaker of the House of Commons. In 1593 he was made attorney general.
. Click the link for more information. , was based upon earlier statutes and charters and asserted four principles: no taxes may be levied without consent of Parliament no subject may be imprisoned without cause shown (reaffirmation of the right of habeas corpus) no soldiers may be quartered upon the citizenry martial law may not be used in time of peace. In return for his acceptance (June, 1628), Charles was granted subsidies. Although the petition was of importance as a safeguard of civil liberties, its spirit was soon violated by Charles, who continued to collect tonnage and poundage duties without Parliament's authorization and to prosecute citizens in an arbitrary manner.


Watch the video: People sign I am a moron petition without reading headline (November 2021).