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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

Mostrando postagens com marcador Magna Carta. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Magna Carta. Mostrar todas as postagens

domingo, 21 de agosto de 2016

801 anos da Magna Carta: indago se o Brasil ja chegou la? - Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Mais de um ano atrás, voltando do Brasil aos Estados Unidos no mesmo dia em que, ao que parece, a Magna Carta completava exatos 800 anos (com o desconto da passagem do calendário juliano para o gregoriano), eu redigia, em pleno voo, uma curta nota relativamente pessimista, ao constatar quão distantes estávamos do principal dispositivo desse documento relevante para a construção da democracia moderna: o princípio de que ninguém está acima da lei, nem mesmo o rei.
Vivíamos, então, uma tremenda agitação na sociedade, com inúmeros, provavelmente mais de duas dezenas de pedidos de impeachment contra a mandatária irresponsável e fraudadora que nos governava desde 2011 (e que tinha sido reeleita de forma fraudulenta em 2014), e a Câmara dos Deputados (que poderia estar fazendo o papel dos barões revoltados), era dirigido por um perfeito bandido parlamentar. Não tínhamos, assim, nenhuma perspectiva de que algo pudesse mudar no cenário político.
Mais de um ano depois, algo mudou, não como gostaríamos, e por circunstâncias muito fortuitas às quais não são alheias as iniciativas de um pequeno grupo de procuradores federais abrigados em Curitiba e um juiz corajoso -- a chamada República de Curitiba -- mas algo mudou para melhor. O bandido parlamentar está lutando defensivamente antes de ser definitivamente cassado, por demanda da sociedade, e deve enfrentar cadeia logo. A mandatária fraudulenta, finalmente, deve ser afastada, ainda que deva merecer cadeia também, o que não sabemos se vai ocorrer. Os demais mafiosos envolvidos no mais gigantesco caso de corrupção do Brasil podem vir a prestar contas com a justiça.
Ou seja, já nos aproximamos um pouquinho do espírito da Magna Carta.
Em todo caso, vou postar novamente o que escrevi um ano atrás, para registrar minha opinião sobre o momento político brasileiro.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida


Pequena reflexão no dia em que a Magna Carta completa 800 anos

Paulo Roberto de Almeida 

Examinando o panorama a partir do nosso ambiente de vida e de trabalho, é forçoso reconhecer que, no que se refere ao principal dispositivo desse compromisso não exatamente constitucional, mas simplesmente costumeiro, e que tem a ver com o Estado de Direito, o Brasil infelizmente ainda não chegou lá, como se diz. Não apenas “nossos” soberanos se permitem ignorar a regra simplicíssima de que ninguém está acima da Lei, nem mesmo o Rei, como também eles pretendem se situar à margem da, quando não contra a Lei, e passam a violar, muitas vezes impunemente, simples mandamentos constitucionais ou a mais elementar legalidade, que seria a chamada responsabilização das suas ações e omissões enquanto governantes. O mandonismo e o patrimonialismo, tão tradicionais em nossa cultura política, ainda contaminam todo o ambiente da governança em nosso país, geralmente com os piores exemplos vindos daqueles mesmos que deveriam resguardar, proteger, defender e obedecer à Lei. Esta é uma simples constatação primária, feita a partir da leitura dos jornais diários, onde se lê que dirigentes e representantes de um partido promíscuo, vinculado a meliantes e outros barões ladrões, estão sempre envolvidos com alguma falcatrua contra os recursos da coletividade, ou seja, nossos impostos duramente (e compulsoriamente) recolhidos por um Estado extrator, atrabiliário, e por um governo corrupto e corruptor.
Sinto muito, Senhora Magna Carta, mas a comemoração neste seu dia assume a forma de uma simples constatação de fracasso, pelo menos no que se refere ao Brasil.
No plano multilateral, por outro lado, estou totalmente convencido de que, se a Declaração Universal dos Direitos do Homem, de 1948, fosse apresentada hoje, para sua aprovação pela Assembleia da ONU, ela simplesmente não seria aprovada, e seria rejeitada inclusive por Estados que a ratificaram à época. Esta é outra triste constatação de nossos tempos, que parecem ter recuado em relação às liberdades antigas. Neste caso, o texto da Declaração, uma derivação mais elaborada da famosa Declaração dos Direitos do Homem e do Cidadão, da revolução francesa, estaria sendo vítima não só do recrudescimento desavergonhado por parte dos novos autoritários (alguns até mesmo velhos totalitários), como também de muitos adeptos do “politicamente correto”, com seu festival de bobagens alegadamente em defesa de minorias e outras espécies “não protegidas”.
Ainda temos um longo caminho pela frente em defesa das mais elementares liberdades democráticas, uma vez que a história não é necessariamente linear, e até pode até recuar em certas esferas.
Sorry Magna Carta...

em voo Atlanta-Hartford, 15 de junho de 2015.

2833. “Pequena reflexão no dia em que a Magna Carta completa 800 anos”, em voo Atlanta-Hartford, 15 de junho de 2015, 2 p. Postado no blog Diplomatizzando (link: http://diplomatizzando.blogspot.com/2015/06/pequena-reflexao-no-dia-em-que-magna.html).

terça-feira, 16 de junho de 2015

Pequena reflexao no dia em que a Magna Carta completa 800 anos - Paulo Roberto de Almeida


Pequena reflexão no dia em que a Magna Carta completa 800 anos

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
 
Examinando o panorama a partir do nosso ambiente de vida e de trabalho, é forçoso reconhecer que, no que se refere ao principal dispositivo desse compromisso não exatamente constitucional, mas simplesmente costumeiro, e que tem a ver com o Estado de Direito, o Brasil infelizmente ainda não chegou lá, como se diz. Não apenas “nossos” soberanos se permitem ignorar a regra simplicíssima de que ninguém está acima da Lei, nem mesmo o Rei, como também eles pretendem se situar à margem da, quando não contra a Lei, e passam a violar, muitas vezes impunemente, simples mandamentos constitucionais ou a mais elementar legalidade, que seria a chamada responsabilização das suas ações e omissões enquanto governantes. O mandonismo e o patrimonialismo, tão tradicionais em nossa cultura política, ainda contaminam todo o ambiente da governança em nosso país, geralmente com os piores exemplos vindos daqueles mesmos que deveriam resguardar, proteger, defender e obedecer à Lei. Esta é uma simples constatação primária, feita a partir da leitura dos jornais diários, onde se lê que dirigentes e representantes de um partido promíscuo, vinculado a meliantes e outros barões ladrões, estão sempre envolvidos com alguma falcatrua contra os recursos da coletividade, ou seja, nossos impostos duramente (e compulsoriamente) recolhidos por um Estado extrator, atrabiliário, e por um governo corrupto e corruptor.
Sinto muito, Senhora Magna Carta, mas a comemoração neste seu dia assume a forma de uma simples constatação de fracasso, pelo menos no que se refere ao Brasil.
No plano multilateral, por outro lado, estou totalmente convencido de que, se a Declaração Universal dos Direitos do Homem, de 1948, fosse apresentada hoje, para sua aprovação pela Assembleia da ONU, ela simplesmente não seria aprovada, e seria rejeitada inclusive por Estados que a ratificaram à época. Esta é outra triste constatação de nossos tempos, que parecem ter recuado em relação às liberdades antigas. Neste caso, o texto da Declaração, uma derivação mais elaborada da famosa Declaração dos Direitos do Homem e do Cidadão, da revolução francesa, estaria sendo vítima não só do recrudescimento desavergonhado por parte dos novos autoritários (alguns até mesmo velhos totalitários), como também de muitos adeptos do “politicamente correto”, com seu festival de bobagens alegadamente em defesa de minorias e outras espécies “não protegidas”.
Ainda temos um longo caminho pela frente em defesa das mais elementares liberdades democráticas, uma vez que a história não é necessariamente linear, e até pode até recuar em certas esferas.
Sorry Magna Carta...

em voo Atlanta-Hartford, 15 de junho de 2015.

quinta-feira, 11 de junho de 2015

The Meaning of Magna Carta since 1215 - Ralph V. Turner (History Today, 2003)

The Meaning of Magna Carta since 1215

Ralph V. Turner considers how and why Magna Carta became a beacon of liberty in Britain and, increasingly, in the United States.

Most students of English history know that King John’s barons forced him to grant Magna Carta, the great charter of liberties that placed the English king under the law. They know that this charter, agreed by John in 1215 at Runnymede meadow and confirmed in definitive form by Henry III in 1225, is a crucial document for England’s history, likely the best known of all documents surviving from medieval England. Its attempt to impose the law’s limitations on a ruler is summarised in Chapter 39:
No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or dispossessed or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go or send against him except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.
Less familiar is the role of Magna Carta in the centuries after 1225, when it was taken up periodically as the banner of discontented subjects rallying against their monarch, and their programmes for political reform included calls for its reconfirmation.
Following John’s death in 1216, the Great Charter’s fate was in doubt, with a nine-year-old boy as the new king Henry III. Yet the Charter took root and was quickly reissued, again in 1217, and in its definitive 1225 version. When in 1258 the great men of the kingdom had grown impatient with Henry’s incompetent rule, baronial reformers sought to revive the 1215 Charter’s provision for a committee of barons to supervise the king. Among their reform proposals was a demand that Henry ‘faithfully keep and observe the charter of the liberties of England’. The rebellion failed, but the royalist victory in 1265 did not end Magna Carta’s prominent position in England’s political life, for part of the peace settlement was the King’s renewed promise to observe it.
In Edward I’s reign (1272-1307), his subjects turned to the Charter as a focus for discontent over his burdensome financial exactions; and in 1297 with his Confirmation of the Charters (plural because the 1225 Charter of the Forest was also confirmed), he acknowledged that Magna Carta bound him. When dissatisfaction mounted once more in 1300, Parliament sought additional concessions from Edward, set forth in the Articles upon the Charters. A century after Runnymede, a precedent was set for parliaments to seek reconfirmation of the Charter and clarification of its meaning.
In the fourteenth century, two parallel movements were under way to enforce Magna Carta’s curbs on arbitrary royal authority. One was a revival under Edward II (r.1307-27) and again under Richard II (r.1377-99) of baronial committees to supervise royal government, reminiscent of the mid-thirteenth-century reform movement. Another was Parliament’s appearance as a permanent political institution, acting as the protector and interpreter of the Great Charter. With a representative assembly in place, it substituted for periodic baronial commissions as the favoured mechanism for subjecting the king to the law. Fourteenth-century parliaments sought royal confirmations of the Great Charter and drafted statutes reinforcing its promises. Often the first item of parliamentary business was a public reading and reaffirmation of the Charter, and as in the previous century, parliaments often exacted confirmation of it from the monarch, resulting in over forty reconfirmations by the early fifteenth century.
Magna Carta was seen as sacrosanct, and statutes conflicting with it were ruled invalid; a statute enacted under Edward III in 1369 declared, ‘If any Statute be made to the contrary, that shall be holden for none.’ Other statutes re-interpreted and expanded the Charter’s provisions. Noteworthy are measures enacted under Edward III (r.1327-77), known to seventeenth- century critics of Stuart absolutism as the ‘six statutes’, which spelled out precisely the Charter’s promise of what was coming to be called ‘due process of law’. The third of these statutes is significant for expanding the numbers protected by Chapter 39, replacing ‘no free man’ with more inclusive language, ‘no man, of whatever estate or condition he may be’; and promising that no one was to be dispossessed, imprisoned, or put to death without ‘due process of law’, the first use of that phrase in the statutes.
By the mid-fifteenth century, Magna Carta slipped into the shadows of high politics where it remained until the seventeenth century, and the custom of periodic royal confirmations ended early in Henry VI’s reign. The reigns of the Yorkist and Tudor monarchs saw strong reassertions of royal sovereignty, and although people never entirely forgot Magna Carta, they no longer rallied around it. The Charter’s ties to the common law ensured its importance, however, for the land-holding classes looked to it as a key protector of their property. Thousands took part in common law procedures, notably trial by jury, and these inculcated the Charter’s principle of due process of law and the plea rolls and the year books give evidence for litigants’ citations of it. In law books studied by the emerging legal profession, Magna Carta was the first of the statutes; and by the late-fifteenth century, collections of statutes beginning with it were among the earliest books to be printed in England. Appeals to specific provisions appear frequently in late medieval plea rolls, proving wide familiarity with the Great Charter, with lawyers and litigants sometimes twisting its technical provisions for frivolous purposes. Yet by the end of the Middle Ages, it was cited less frequently because statutes spelling out its principles afforded added protection against an arbitrary king, binding him to act ‘according to law’ or by ‘due process’ or ‘process of the law’.
Magna Carta played little part in the great controversy of Henry VIII’s reign (1509-47), his break with the papacy; and he often violated his subjects’ rights in enforcing conformity to his new Church. Only occasionally did his victims, imprisoned without indictment or bail, claim ‘the liberty of an Englishman’, as guaranteed them by the Charter. A few prominent Catholics claimed protection under its first chapter promising freedom for the English Church, but most turned to the theology of universal papal authority for arguments against Henry’s supremacy over the Church of England. By the late Tudor period, though, radical Protestants such as the Puritans presented a greater threat to royal supremacy over the Church of England than did Catholics. They sought the Charter’s protection against persecution by Elizabeth I’s new ecclesiastical tribunal, the Court of High Commission. The High Commission, armed with Roman and canon law procedures, forced dissidents to incriminate themselves, a practice that alarmed common lawyers prejudiced against Roman law. Since many legal professionals were also Puritans, they made common cause with Protestant militants.
Magna Carta took a central role in the seventeenth-century conflict between king and Parliament, as common lawyers and parliamentarians turned to a mythical ‘ancient constitution’ as a defence against Stuart kings’ assertion of the royal prerogative. Historians, common lawyers and Members of Parliament searched medieval manuscripts of early law codes and forgotten royal charters for ammunition against James I and Charles I. They treasured the Charter as a key element of England’s ‘ancient constitution’, a body of laws and customs supposedly surviving from pre-Roman Britain that imposed limits on the king’s power over his subjects.
The champion of the doctrine of the ancient constitution and the revival of Magna Carta was Sir Edward Coke (d. 1634). Coke conceived of the English constitution as a chain of royal confirmations of English law, stretching back to the age of Edward the Confessor and beyond. Because he viewed the Great Charter as a reaffirmation of liberties enjoyed by the English people from time immemorial and still binding because of its many confirmations over the centuries, he urged Parliament to demand a royal reconfirmation. Coke and his companions opposing the early Stuarts construed the Charter anachronistically and uncritically. They were convinced that its clauses reaffirmed such longstanding rights of the English people as trial by jury and the right of habeas corpus, thought to be derived from law-codes and royal charters predating John’s grant.
The civil wars of 1642-48, kindled by Coke’s revival of the Great Charter, had more extreme consequences than the 1215-16 rebellion, as it resulted in military dictatorship, the King’s execution and a decade of experiments in government. But the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89, culminating in the deposition of James II and establishment of Parliament’s supremacy, seemed a repetition of the baronial rebellion against King John. The settlement following William and Mary’s accession included a Declaration of Rights, enacted by Parliament as a new Magna Carta.
Sir Edward Coke’s portrayal of England’s past was now fashioned into the ‘Whig interpretation’ of history, with a triumphalist view of liberty’s ceaseless advance. Whig writers ranked the 1688-89 Revolution alongside King John’s 1215 concessions, convinced that it reconfirmed an ancient compact between king and people, restoring fundamental law and limited monarchy. Debate late in Charles II’s reign over excluding his brother, the future James II, from the succession had led royalist propagandists to challenge Coke’s myth of the ancient constitution. Tories turned to the royalist historians’ rediscovery of the ‘feudal law’ and Norman ties of lordship and vassalage that had made the barons dependents of the king, holding their lands in return for services to him. Royalist writers tended to dismiss Magna Carta as a feudal document with little long-term relevance, and in fact royalist historians such as Robert Brady (d.1700) painted a more accurate picture of the medieval past than Coke. Nonetheless, the Whig interpretation triumphed in the eighteenth century. Its victory was symbolised by Brady’s replacement as Keeper of Records at the Tower of London, curator of the kingdom’s historical records, by William Petyt, a historian supporting Coke’s ancient constitution.
Early eighteenth-century Tories, languishing without power under the first two Georges, replaced their faith in unrestrained royal power with defence of the ancient constitution, charging the Whig majority with undermining historic English liberties. Tory support for the ancient constitution drove Whig defenders of their parliamentary leader, Sir Robert Walpole, to stress the superiority of the post-1688 constitution, and to question Magna Carta’s relevance. One Whig writer, repeating earlier royalist arguments, now maintained that the barons alone had gained from the Charter. After George III’s accession in 1760, American colonists and their English sympathisers began to question parliamentary sovereignty, and radical political movements challenged complacency about the glories of the English constitution. Opponents of Parliament’s monopoly on power denounced its political machinations, graft and corruption. The reformers were a diverse group ranging from radicals inspired by the rationalism of the Enlightenment to religious dissenters looking back to a golden age of Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan parliaments.
With radical journalists stirring up public opinion against Parliament, freedom of the press came under attack. One radical writer, Arthur Beardmore, arrested for seditious libel in 1762, showed an eye for publicity, arranging to be arrested while teaching Magna Carta to his young son. He became a popular hero, and a print picturing him showing the Charter to the boy circulated widely. Another radical, John Wilkes (d. 1797), imprisoned in the Tower in 1763 for seditious libel, transformed his prosecution into a campaign for the people’s rights against oppression, invoking Magna Carta, ‘that glorious inheritance, that distinguishing characteristic of the Englishmen’. The radical movement proved short-lived, however. After 1789, radical sympathy for the French revolutionaries alienated moderates, and the government took such harsh measures against them that reaction and repression soon became the rule in Britain. A satirical article in a radical newspaper noted that the Habeas Corpus Act (1679) was descended from ‘two notorious traitors of old times, called Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights’, and declared that the Charter was ‘so very old and infirm that he seldom stirs abroad, and when he does he is sure to be insulted, and is very glad to get back to his lodgings again’.
Although hostility kindled by the French Revolution stalled any innovation, agitation for wider representation in the Commons revived after 1815. Nineteenth-century popular movements for parliamentary reform such as Chartism turned to Magna Carta for support. Other tendencies, however, undermined reverence for the Charter and England’s medieval constitutional legacy, especially Bentham’s radical Utilitarian philosophy. Its rational and pragmatic outlook led lawyers and judges to cease to venerate the common law simply because of its antiquity and to view it as a stumbling block to progress. Advocates of legal reform understood that revising the common law was impossible without first reforming the House of Commons, and once this was achieved in 1832, Utilitarians could turn to reform of English law. To them, the triumph of Parliament at the end of the seventeenth century meant the Great Charter had lost its special place as fundamental law standing above statute law; the nation’s legislative assembly had replaced it, however inadequately, as the protector of the people’s liberties.
By the mid-nineteenth century both politicians and the lawyers favoured reorganisation of the law, and striking obsolete legislation from the statute books began in earnest with the first Statute Laws Revision Act of 1856. Two more acts  followed in 1861 and 1863, repealing hundreds of old laws; these acts and subsequent legislation abrogated much of Magna Carta. Some in the Commons sought assurances that no statutes considered ‘stones in the edifice of the constitution’ would be abolished, and one MP offered an amendment to preserve Magna Carta and other constitutional landmarks, but this failed. The ease with which abrogation of clauses of the Charter was achieved is surprising, a striking display of parliamentary sovereignty. During Commons debates, the Solicitor-General dismissed the Great Charter’s significance, reminding members that ‘as signed by King John’ it was not a statute and could be consulted only in ancient manuscripts. Stricken from the statute books by the 1863 legislation were seventeen of the 1225 Charter’s chapters, many of them ‘feudal’ clauses that had lost their practical effect two centuries earlier when tenures by knight-service were abolished. By the 1880s, many Britons felt that further pruning of the laws was needed, and still more chapters of the Charter were repealed.
A few provisions of Magna Carta remained on the statute books into the twentieth century. In 1965, Parliament created the Law Commission for statute revision, and the commissioners recommended repeal of laws that ‘cannot be shown to perform a useful function’. They proposed a bill repealing over 200 laws, including eight chapters of the Great Charter that they found to be ‘of no practical significance today, being either obsolete or superseded by the modern law on the subject’. Legislation that followed in 1970 left only four chapters of Magna Carta intact: chapters 1, 13 and 39 of King John’s Charter, and 37 of the 1225 version. The first Chapter promised freedom for the English Church, and Chapter 13 (9 in the 1225 version), guaranteed the City of London its ancient liberties and free customs. Chapter 39 (29 in the 1225 Charter) was the key provision in Magna Carta, curbing the crown’s power to pursue individuals beyond the law. Chapter 37, found only in the 1225 Charter, contained a clause important for the perpetuity of Magna Carta’s liberties, ‘and if anything contrary to this [charter] is procured from anyone, it shall avail nothing and be held for nought’.
Despite this legislative assault on Magna Carta, the Whig historical interpretation of its place in British history had become orthodoxy, the semi-official presentation by the Victorian era. For Whig historians, the 1215 baronial rebellion marked a major step in England’s long march toward limited monarchy and parliamentary supremacy; and the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 marked further advance toward the orderly growth of parliamentary democracy, religious toleration and bourgeois values. This interpretation fostered the ‘idea of progress’, presenting history as modernisation, slow but steady evolution toward higher civilisation. It also generated enormous pride among nineteenth-century Britons, convincing them of their island-kingdom’s destiny to be a model for other nations seeking freedom and unity as well as justification for their rule over a colonial empire. By the mid-nineteenth century, a rising scientific and materialist world-view brought with it new notions of the nature of history that challenged this mythic version of the past and heralded drastic changes in the nature of history. The later Victorian age was a time when ‘a truly historical consciousness’ developed, and the discipline of history fell into the hands of professionals and specialists, many of whom were ‘debunkers’ of hallowed historical myths.
The Charter’s importance was seen differently across the Atlantic. As the Great Charter’s relevance receded in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, it remained fundamental for the new nation growing in North America. Today, Magna Carta seems to enjoy greater prestige in the United States than in the United Kingdom. Indicative of this is the monument at Runnymede erected in 1957 by the American Bar Association to commemorate the Charter. Edward Coke and other opponents of the Stuarts had resuscitated it at the very moment that the first English settlements were being founded in the Americas, and the settlers in the thirteen colonies had held themselves to be fully English, possessing all rights guaranteed to their compatriots at home by the Great Charter and the common law. The charter of each colony, beginning with James I’s charter for the Virginia Company in 1606, included protection for colonists’ rights as free English subjects. The colonists held Magna Carta to be fundamental law, standing above both king and Parliament and unalterable by statute. Americans’ dedication to fundamental law increased in the years after 1688, an age when British political thinkers were discarding it in favour of parliamentary sovereignty. Their commitment to such higher law as Magna Carta fortified their inclination toward written constitutions.
The 1225 version of the Great Charter was published in Philadelphia as early as 1687, part of a tract authored by William Penn, founder of the Quaker colony. Sir Edward Coke’s interpretation of the Charter influenced these Americans. Subscribing to Coke’s anachronistic views, they held it to be the guarantor of their ancient English liberties, including rights to trial by jury and the writ of habeas corpus. They saw the seventeenth-century struggle against the Stuart kings as part of their own history, and they accepted the Great Charter as part of the ancient constitution, providing them with the same protections enjoyed by their cousins in the mother country. In the decade before the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, colonial lawyers and pamphleteers turned to Magna Carta for support against the government across the Atlantic. The first Continental Congress adopted a resolution in October 1774 claiming that the colonists were doing ‘as Englishmen their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties’. In 1775, Massachusetts adopted as its state seal an image of an American patriot holding a sword in one hand and Magna Carta in the other.
After the United States won independence, the federal Constitution became the new nation’s fundamental law. The Founding Fathers, faithful to seventeenth-century doctrine placing the Great Charter above statute law, accorded the Constitution a similar lofty position as fundamental law that can be overcome only by a Supreme Court ruling or a constitutional amendment, invulnerable to acts of Congress. By the eighteenth century, with Britons sure of Parliament’s superior place in the government and ideas of fundamental law fading, the British constitution consisted of a series of statutes that parliamentary majorities could abolish or alter, so long as they were supported by public opinion. As the states considered ratifying the federal Constitution, anti-federalists objected to its lack of an enumeration of citizens’ rights, such as Magna Carta or the 1689 Bill of Rights; and to win ratification by the states, the first ten amendments to the federal Constitution were adopted. Among the amendments, ratified in 1791 as the Bill of Rights, was an article promising that no person shall be ‘deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law’, paraphrasing the Charter’s thirty-ninth chapter.
Americans today accord Magna Carta semi-religious veneration, citing it constantly in political debates, judicial opinions and newspaper editorials. The United States Supreme Court first cited the Charter in an 1819 opinion, and American jurists still cannot resist citing it in their decisions. Supreme Court citations of the Charter now number over a hundred. A federal district judge even cited it in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment suit in 1994 against President Clinton. She ruled against delaying the suit during the President’s term of office, stating:
It is contrary to our form of government, which asserts as did the English in the Magna Carta and the Petition of Right, that even the sovereign is subject to God and the law.
Whatever the hyperbole and distortions of history, jurists’ references to the Charter indicate its lasting place as a symbol of limited government in American legal and political thought.

Further Reading:
Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (W.W. Norton, 1965), reprint of 1931 edn. J.C. Holt, Magna Carta and Medieval Government (Hambledon, 1985); J.C. Holt, Magna Carta, 2nd edn. (Cambridge University Press, 1992); A.E. Dick Howard, The Road from Runnymede: Magna Carta and Constitutionalism in America (University of Virginia Press 1968); Anne Pallister, Magna Carta, the Heritage of Liberty (Oxford University Press, 1971);. Faith Thompson, The First Century of Magna Carta: why it Persisted as a Document (University of Minnesota Press, 1925); Faith Thompson, Magna Carta: its Role in the Making of the English Constitution, 1300-1629 (University of Minnesota Press, 1948); Ralph V. Turner, King John (Longman, 1994).

Ralph V. Turner is distinguished research Professor of History Emeritus, Florida State University, and the author of Magna Carta published by Pearson Education.

quarta-feira, 10 de junho de 2015

British Library: Magna Carta, pagina especial; Coursera: open course on Magna Carta; Paulo Roberto de Almeida: entrevista sobre a Magna Carta

Recomendo esta página da British Library, para os que pretendem assistir ao colóquio desta sexta-feira, dia dos namorados, no IRel-UnB, as 14hs.
Enamorem-se da Magna Carta com esta magnfífica apresentação:
http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta


Videos and images from the 750th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, including http://www.britishpathe.com/video/750-years-of-liberty/query/Magna
Articles free to access exploring Magna Carta’s uses in British and American history and the history of law, including http://www.historytoday.com/ralph-v-turner/meaning-magna-carta-1215 and the texts of lectures given at Royal Holloway as part of a ten year series of Magna Carta themed public talks
-  http://www.rhul.ac.uk/aboutus/documents/pdf/magnacarta/2007-lecture.pdf by Professor Shirley Williams
http://www.rhul.ac.uk/aboutus/documents/pdf/magnacarta/magnacarta8711.pdf by Lady Mary Arden

Tem também o curso especial a ser dado por professores da Universidade de Londres, disponibilizados por Coursera (tem um app para smartphones):

Freedom and protest: Magna Carta and its legacies

This course was previously called: The Magna Carta and its Legacy. This course aims to lead students into a greater appreciation for and an understanding of Magna Carta and its significance around the globe, as we approach the 800th anniversary of its sealing. The course examines why Magna Carta was radical in its day, why it has been a source of numerous debates, and why this anniversary is being celebrated in the present.

Aproveito para reproduzir as notas que havia preparado para uma entrevista concedida na semana passada para uma rádio:
 

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Notas para entrevista ao vivo na Rádio TransMundial;
Programa Fique por Dentro; 29/05/2015; 8h35


1) O que é a Magna Carta?
No dia 15 de junho de 1215, nas planícies de Runymede, não muito longe de onde se situa o Castelo de Windsor atualmente, uma assembleia de barões feudais confrontava um soberano despótico, o rei João, que vivia querendo cobrar mais impostos de seus súditos para financiar a suas guerras na França. Os barões obrigaram o rei a assinar um documento reconhecendo os seus direitos, que eram tradicionais na Inglaterra medieval, e assim nasceu a Magna Carta, um espécie de carta-compromisso, ou um memorando de entendimento, que depois de assinada pelo rei foi enviada a todos os homens livres para ser lida e ver consagrados esses direitos.
Essa não foi todavia a versão definitiva da Magna Carta, mas apenas uma reafirmação do compromisso que tinha sido assumido pelo pai de João, Henrique II, que havia assegurado que não imporia mais tributos sobre os nobres sem o consentimento deles. Houve uma segunda versão, aprovada no dia 19, onde o termo barões foi substituído por “homens livres”, uma disposição muito importante, que teria consequências, 650 anos mais tarde na Nova Inglaterra, as colônias americanas que se rebelaram contra os impostos do rei George, precipitando a independência dos EUA.
O rei João morreu em 1216, e para assegurar o trono para seu filho de 9 anos, Henrique III, uma nova versão da Magna Carta foi elaborada, com algumas novas provisões, garantindo os mesmos direitos. Quando o jovem rei assumiu o controle definitivo do trono, em 1225, uma última versão da Carta foi produzida, e é essa versão que subsistiu até nossos dias, incorporada nos princípios constitucionais ingleses e americanos. Esses princípios foram ainda usados na revolução inglesa do século 17, contra o rei Jaime I, que acabou sendo decapitado pelo parlamento, uma vez que demonstrava as mesmas tentações despóticas que seu predecessor do século 13. E foi esse renascimento da Magna Carta, durante a Revolução Inglesa que inspirou os colonos americanos a também declararem sua independência da metrópole, como homens livres. O Bill of Rights, a Declaração de Direitos da Inglaterra, de 1689, derivada da segunda revolução, dita Gloriosa, que derrubou a dinastia dos Stuarts, e que importou uma nova dinastia do continente para governar a Inglaterra, também influenciou os colonos americanos a exigirem a sua declaração de direitos um século mais tarde.

2) Qual era o momento politico que antecedeu à sua criação?
João, dito João Sem Terras (John LackLand), era o quarto filho de Henrique II, que não tinha mais terras para dividir entre seus herdeiros, e acabou passando a João um vago domínio que tinha sobre terras no atual território francês. Ele passou metade de sua vida adulta tentando garantir a posse dessas terras, e para isso tinha de mobilizar os barões ingleses e os seus servos para partirem para custosas guerras na França. Seu irmão mais velho, Ricardo, dito Coração de Leão, tinha herdado a maior parte de suas propriedades do país, mas no final do século 12, em 1188, tinha partido para a Terceira Cruzada, e passou longos anos tentando recuperar Jerusalém de Saladin, o guerreiro muçulmano que tinha conquistado a cidade santa. Com a morte de Ricardo, em 1199, João se torna o rei da Inglaterra, até a sua morte, em 1216, mas como seu irmão, passa grande parte do tempo fora da Inglaterra, lutando para conquistar ou assegurar suas terras na França. Ele começou a taxar pesadamente seus súditos, inclusive o próprio clero e a Igreja, o que causou a revolta geral.

3) E depois? O que ela ocasionou?
O que caracteriza a Magna Carta e a distingue como documento historicamente fundador de todas as democracias modernas? Ela contém muitos dispositivos, mas os principais são estes.
1) Ninguém está acima da lei, nem mesmo o rei. Todos devem responder judicialmente por infrações à lei, independentemente do seu status ou condição social, ou até mesmo de suas funções governamentais.
2) Ninguém pode ser processado ou condenado sem o devido processo legal.
3) O rei não pode tributar os seus súditos sem o consentimento deles.
Em outros termos, trata-se de um compromisso entre o soberano e seus súditos, para que seu poder seja reconhecido como legítimo. Ela é a base do constitucionalismo moderno, ainda que anglo-saxão, que é diferente do nosso tipo de constitucionalismo, de base continental europeia. Esse tipo de compromisso inglês é muito usado no seu direito consuetudinário, ou seja, o customs law, não escrito, o direito tradicional que é ferrenhamente defendido no mundo anglo-saxão. A Inglaterra é a mais antiga democracia em funcionamento no mundo, e não tem Constituição escrita. É claro que nem tudo estava na Magna Carta, mas ela foi a base, também, do Bill of Rights, de 1689, que persiste até hoje, e que instituiu o princípio de que o rei reina, mas não governa. A governança é deixada ao Parlamento.

4) Qual a sua importância e o seu conteúdo?
Sua importância é fundamental, sobretudo para o mundo anglo-saxônico. Quando falamos de democracia, no Brasil, temos um entendimento que se poderia chamar de superestrutural, ou seja, a tradicional repartição de poderes para o funcionamento do Estado. Democracia para os anglo-saxões é algo muito mais infraestrutural, ou sistêmico, compreendendo direitos fundamentais para homens livres, e garantindo que o Estado esteja a seu serviço, não estes a serviço do Estado. Essa diferença é fundamental.
Qual o mais importante direito garantido pelos homens livres contra o poder arbitrário do rei João? O de que nenhum governante tem o direito de impor tributos sem o consentimento dos governados, ou seja, daqueles que criam riquezas e que são justamente taxados em favor desses governantes. Aliás, não deveria ser assim: impostos devem servir, antes de mais nada, para o oferecimento de serviços públicos, aqueles mais essenciais: segurança cidadã, justiça pública, defesa da nação, relações exteriores, educação básica e algumas obras de infraestrutura (embora estas também possam ser feitas pela iniciativa privada).
A participação dos cidadãos, por meio de representantes eleitos, na fixação dos tipos de receitas, na definição dos seus níveis de imposição, ou alíquotas, bem como na decisão sobre como serão gastas essas receitas, é absolutamente indispensável, e nenhuma democracia digna desse nome se entende sem que a criação de riqueza e sua apropriação pelos governantes escape ao exame dos cidadãos. No Brasil, parece que essa característica fundamental da arte de governar ainda não se encontra bem assente, ou é simplesmente ignorada; aqui se costuma criar contribuições, aumentar impostos, corrigir para cima alíquotas, tarifas e todos os tipos de taxas sem sequer se dignar a fornecer explicações aos governados, os criadores de riqueza e pagadores de impostos. Não é por outro motivo que os países anglo-saxões – ou seja, a Grã-Bretanha, ou Reino Unido, em primeiro lugar, os Estados Unidos, em segundo e mais importante lugar, mas também países como o Canadá, a Austrália, a Nova Zelândia – são as democracias mais antigas e mais sólidas do mundo, e estão também entre os países mais prósperos, mais inovadores, onde o meio ambiente para negócios é o mais acolhedor em todo o mundo. A Índia atual é inconcebível sem algumas das tradições inglesas mais relevantes, entre elas o governo parlamentar, a justiça independente e a propensão à criação de riqueza.
Tudo começou bem lá atrás, quando os homens livres impuseram ao soberano a limitação ao poder de tributar sem o consentimento  dos governados. A função essencial de todos os parlamentos dignos desse nome é justamente esta: discutir e aprovar uma peça orçamentária, transformá-la em lei e vigiar para que ela seja integralmente cumprida no seguimento de sua promulgação enquanto lei. Poucos países no mundo ousariam considerar a lei orçamentária meramente autorizativa. A Magna Carta foi feita justamente para que o rei não estabelecesse ele mesmo os limites e o alcance das receitas públicas e decidisse sozinho sobre o seu dispêndio: o parlamento tem nesse rito seu ato mais relevante entre todas as suas outras atribuições. Ocorre que no Brasil o próprio parlamento conspurca o sentido do planejamento orçamentário, ao fazer, a cada ano, estimativas exageradas quanto às receitas esperadas, apenas para poder introduzir emendas paroquiais nas previsões de despesa. E, em nenhum lugar do mundo, se constitucionalizou a obrigação de que essas emendas, feitas ao arrepio da peça orçamentária original, sejam pagas com precedência sobre todas as demais, ou seja, que elas escapem do contingenciamento orçamentário, que, em si, já é um absurdo.

5) O que ela trouxe para os dias atuais?
Depende de que países e de quais contextos estamos falando. Se formos observar os países anglo-saxões, impossível não reconhecer que se trata das mais antigas e mais sólidas democracias de todo o mundo. Se formos atentar, por exemplo, para o princípio fundamental da Magna Carta, que é o governo pelas leis, não diretamente pelos homens, veremos que se trata de algo absolutamente revolucionário, para a Idade Média e mesmo para os dias de hoje. A limitação dos poderes do soberano, ou seja, do Estado, de sua capacidade de taxar abusivamente, o respeito à lei e ao devido processo legal, são absolutamente fundamentais para aquilo que os anglo-saxões chamam de accountability, ou seja, a responsabilização dos governantes em tudo aquilo e por tudo aquilo que diga respeito ao correto cumprimento da lei e o uso adequado dos recursos públicos, em absoluta transparência e prestação de contas para a população e, em primeiro lugar para os seus representantes, ou seja, os parlamentares.
No caso do Brasil, entretanto, isso ainda parece que não “pegou”, como se diz, mesmo 800 anos depois da Magna Carta: nossos governantes continuam a se julgar acima da lei; pior, se permitem fraudar a lei, e em muitos casos impunemente. Nossa democracia é de baixa qualidade, e falha em critérios fundamentais da Magna Carta.
O que falta para que o Brasil entre no espírito da Magna Carta? Falta aquilo que os próprios ingleses chamam de “accountability”, que é uma palavra que poderia ser funcionalmente traduzida como sendo “responsabilização”, ou seja, aquele que detém algum poder, algum mandato, uma responsabilidade sobre uma determinada área de interesse público, e sobretudo aquele que lida, manipula, intermedeia e define dotações obtidas com recursos capturados na comunidade de contribuintes compulsórios, esse alguém deve assumir responsabilidade por todas as operações efetuadas com esses recursos, que devem receber a maior transparência. Ele deve responder por tudo isso.
Como sabemos, na verdade, que essas coisas são difíceis de serem verificadas, a melhor solução, então, seria fazer com que um mínimo de recursos coletivos passasse pelas mãos do Estado. É uma evidência de senso comum que Estados muito grandes chamam naturalmente a corrupção, e não adianta introduzir mecanismos de verificação e de fiscalização, pois os espertos sempre vão encontrar uma maneira de burlar os controles. Então, quanto menos dinheiro passar pelas mãos do Estado, melhor. E quanto mais recursos próprios ficarem com os verdadeiros criadores de riquezas, que somos todos nós, melhor ainda.
Creio que esta é a mensagem da Magna Carta a todos nós, oitocentos anos depois que ela foi escrita. Claro que seus principais dispositivos têm a ver com a administração da Justiça, outro ponto extremamente controverso no Brasil, mas a principal questão, atualmente, é a do funcionamento da economia, dos impostos, da corrupção e a da má condução da política econômica. Por coincidência, os países mais prósperos do mundo, e os menos estatizados, são justamente aqueles que têm a Magna Carta como fonte inspiradora de sua organização institucional, ou até diretamente, como parte de seu ordenamento constitucional.
Seria coincidência, ou é mesmo uma das virtudes da Magna Carta a de prover um saudável equilíbrio entre os poderes dos governos e os deveres e os direitos dos governados? Creio que a resposta se impõe por si mesma...

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Anápolis, 2826: 20 maio 2015, 3 p.; Brasília, 29 de maio de 2015, 5 p.  

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Fonte adicional:


A Magna Carta e seu legado americano - exposicao na Library of Congress

Um texto preparado para a exposição que ocorreu no começo deste ano na Library of Congress, em Washington:


Magna Carta and Its American Legacy 


Before penning the Declaration of Independence--the first of the American Charters of Freedom--in 1776, the Founding Fathers searched for a historical precedent for asserting their rightful liberties from King George III and the English Parliament. They found it in a gathering that took place 561 years earlier on the plains of Runnymede, not far from where Windsor Castle stands today. There, on June 15, 1215, an assembly of barons confronted a despotic and cash-strapped King John and demanded that traditional rights be recognized, written down, confirmed with the royal seal, and sent to each of the counties to be read to all freemen. The result was Magna Carta--a momentous achievement for the English barons and, nearly six centuries later, an inspiration for angry American colonists.
Magna Carta was the result of the Angevin king's disastrous foreign policy and overzealous financial administration. John had suffered a staggering blow the previous year, having lost an important battle to King Philip II at Bouvines and with it all hope of regaining the French lands he had inherited. When the defeated John returned from the Continent, he attempted to rebuild his coffers by demanding scutage (a fee paid in lieu of military service) from the barons who had not joined his war with Philip. The barons in question, predominantly lords of northern estates, protested, condemning John's policies and insisting on a reconfirmation of Henry I's Coronation Oath (1100), which would, in theory, limit the king's ability to obtain funds. (As even Henry ignored the provisions of this charter, however, a reconfirmation would not necessarily guarantee fewer taxes.) But John refused to withdraw his demands, and by spring most baronial families began to take sides. The rebelling barons soon faltered before John's superior resources, but with the unexpected capture of London, they earned a substantial bargaining chip. John agreed to grant a charter.
The document conceded by John and set with his seal in 1215, however, was not what we know today as Magna Carta but rather a set of baronial stipulations, now lost, known as the "Articles of the barons." After John and his barons agreed on the final provisions and additional wording changes, they issued a formal version on June 19, and it is this document that came to be known as Magna Carta. Of great significance to future generations was a minor wording change, the replacement of the term "any baron" with "any freeman" in stipulating to whom the provisions applied. Over time, it would help justify the application of the Charter's provisions to a greater part of the population. While freemen were a minority in 13th-century England, the term would eventually include all English, just as "We the People" would come to apply to all Americans in this century.
While Magna Carta would one day become a basic document of the British Constitution, democracy and universal protection of ancient liberties were not among the barons' goals. The Charter was a feudal document and meant to protect the rights and property of the few powerful families that topped the rigidly structured feudal system. In fact, the majority of the population, the thousands of unfree laborers, are only mentioned once, in a clause concerning the use of court-set fines to punish minor offenses. Magna Carta's primary purpose was restorative: to force King John to recognize the supremacy of ancient liberties, to limit his ability to raise funds, and to reassert the principle of "due process." Only a final clause, which created an enforcement council of tenants-in-chief and clergymen, would have severely limited the king's power and introduced something new to English law: the principle of "majority rule." But majority rule was an idea whose time had not yet come; in September, at John's urging, Pope Innocent II annulled the "shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the king by violence and fear." The civil war that followed ended only with John's death in October 1216.
Description: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/images/magna_carta_display.jpgA 1297 version of Magna Carta, presented courtesy of David M. Rubenstein, is on display in the new David M. Rubenstein Gallery at the National Archives.
To gain support for the new monarch--John's 9-year-old son, Henry III--the young king's regents reissued the charter in 1217. Neither this version nor that issued by Henry when he assumed personal control of the throne in 1225 were exact duplicates of John's charter; both lacked some provisions, including that providing for the enforcement council, found in the original. With the 1225 issuance, however, the evolution of the document ended. While English monarchs, including Henry, confirmed Magna Carta several times after this, each subsequent issue followed the form of this "final" version. With each confirmation, copies of the document were made and sent to the counties so that everyone would know their rights and obligations. Of these original issues of Magna Carta, 17 survive: 4 from the reign of John; 8 from that of Henry III; and 5 from Edward I, including the version now on display at the National Archives.
Although tradition and interpretation would one day make Magna Carta a document of great importance to both England and the American colonies, it originally granted concessions to few but the powerful baronial families. It did include concessions to the Church, merchants, townsmen, and the lower aristocracy for their aid in the rebellion, but the majority of the English population would remain without an active voice in government for another 700 years.
Despite its historical significance, however, Magna Carta may have remained legally inconsequential had it not been resurrected and reinterpreted by Sir Edward Coke in the early 17th century. Coke, Attorney General for Elizabeth, Chief Justice during the reign of James, and a leader in Parliament in opposition to Charles I, used Magna Carta as a weapon against the oppressive tactics of the Stuart kings. Coke argued that even kings must comply to common law. As he proclaimed to Parliament in 1628, "Magna Carta . . . will have no sovereign."
Description: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/images/sir_edward_coke.jpgLord Coke's view of the law was particularly relevant to the American experience for it was during this period that the charters for the colonies were written. Each included the guarantee that those sailing for the New World and their heirs would have "all the rights and immunities of free and natural subjects." As our forefathers developed legal codes for the colonies, many incorporated liberties guaranteed by Magna Carta and the 1689 English Bill of Rights directly into their own statutes. Although few colonists could afford legal training in England, they remained remarkably familiar with English common law. During one parliamentary debate in the late 18th century, Edmund Burke observed, "In no country, perhaps in the world, is law so general a study." Through Coke, whose four-volume Institutes of the Laws of England was widely read by American law students, young colonists such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison learned of the spirit of the charter and the common law--or at least Coke's interpretation of them. Later, Jefferson would write to Madison of Coke: "a sounder whig never wrote, nor of profounder learning in the orthodox doctrines of the British constitution, or in what were called English liberties." It is no wonder then that as the colonists prepared for war they would look to Coke and Magna Carta for justification.
By the 1760s the colonists had come to believe that in America they were creating a place that adopted the best of the English system but adapted it to new circumstances; a place where a person could rise by merit, not birth; a place where men could voice their opinions and actively share in self-government. But these beliefs were soon tested. Following the costly Seven Years' War, Great Britain was burdened with substantial debts and the continuing expense of keeping troops on American soil. Parliament thought the colonies should finance much of their own defense and levied the first direct tax, the Stamp Act, in 1765. As a result, virtually every document--newspapers, licenses, insurance policies, legal writs, even playing cards--would have to carry a stamp showing that required taxes had been paid. The colonists rebelled against such control over their daily affairs. Their own elected legislative bodies had not been asked to consent to the Stamp Act. The colonists argued that without either this local consent or direct representation in Parliament, the act was "taxation without representation." They also objected to the law's provision that those who disobeyed could be tried in admiralty courts without a jury of their peers. Coke's influence on Americans showed clearly when the Massachusetts Assembly reacted by declaring the Stamp Act "against the Magna Carta and the natural rights of Englishmen, and therefore, according to Lord Coke, null and void."
Description: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/images/demise_of_stamp_act.jpgBut regardless of whether the charter forbade taxation without representation or if this was merely implied by the "spirit," the colonists used this "misinterpretation" to condemn the Stamp Act. To defend their objections, they turned to a 1609 or 1610 defense argument used by Coke: superiority of the common law over acts of Parliament. Coke claimed "When an act of parliament is against common right or reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will control it and adjudge such an act void. Because the Stamp Act seemed to tread on the concept of consensual taxation, the colonists believed it, "according to Lord Coke," invalid.
The colonists were enraged. Benjamin Franklin and others in England eloquently argued the American case, and Parliament quickly rescinded the bill. But the damage was done; the political climate was changing. As John Adams later wrote to Thomas Jefferson, "The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of 15 years before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington."
Relations between Great Britain and the colonies continued to deteriorate. The more Parliament tried to raise revenue and suppress the growing unrest, the more the colonists demanded the charter rights they had brought with them a century and a half earlier. At the height of the Stamp Act crisis, William Pitt proclaimed in Parliament, "The Americans are the sons not the bastards of England." Parliament and the Crown, however, appeared to believe otherwise. But the Americans would have their rights, and they would fight for them. The seal adopted by Massachusetts on the eve of the Revolution summed up the mood--a militiaman with sword in one hand and Magna Carta in the other.
Armed resistance broke out in April 1775. Fifteen months later, the final break was made with the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Although the colonies had finally and irrevocably articulated their goal, Independence did not come swiftly. Not until the surrender of British forces at Yorktown in 1781 was the military struggle won. The constitutional battle, however, was just beginning.
In the war's aftermath, many Americans recognized that the rather loose confederation of states would have to be strengthened if the new nation were to survive. James Madison expressed these concerns in a call for a convention at Philadelphia in 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation: "The good people of America are to decide the solemn question, whether they will by wise and magnanimous efforts reap the just fruits of that Independence which they so gloriously acquired . . . or whether by giving way to unmanly jealousies and prejudices, or to partial and transitory interests, they will renounce the auspicious blessings prepared for them by the Revolution." The representatives of the states listened to Madison and drew heavily from his ideas. Instead of revising the Articles, they created a new form of government, embodied in the Constitution of the United States. Authority emanated directly from the people, not from any governmental body. And the Constitution would be "the supreme Law of the Land"--just as Magna Carta had been deemed superior to other statutes.
In 1215, when King John confirmed Magna Carta with his seal, he was acknowledging the now firmly embedded concept that no man--not even the king--is above the law. That was a milestone in constitutional thought for the 13th century and for centuries to come. In 1779 John Adams expressed it this way: "A government of laws, and not of men." Further, the charter established important individual rights that have a direct legacy in the American Bill of Rights. And during the United States' history, these rights have been expanded. The U.S. Constitution is not a static document. Like Magna Carta, it has been interpreted and reinterpreted throughout the years. This has allowed the Constitution to become the longest-lasting constitution in the world and a model for those penned by other nations. Through judicial review and amendment, it has evolved so that today Americans--regardless of gender, race, or creed--can enjoy the liberties and protection it guarantees. Just as Magna Carta stood as a bulwark against tyranny in England, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights today serve similar roles, protecting the individual freedoms of all Americans against arbitrary and capricious rule.

Image Top Right:
A 1297 version of Magna Carta, presented courtesy of David M. Rubenstein, is on display in the West Rotunda Gallery at the National Archives.
Image Middle Left:
Sir Edward Coke's reinterpretation of Magna Carta provided an argument for universal liberty in England and gave American colonists a basis for their condemnation of British colonial policies. (Library of Congress)
Image Bottom Right:
Members of the British government and church mourn the demise of the Stamp Act. (Library of Congress)

Magna Carta, discussao na UnB, 12 de junho, as 14hs, no Auditorio do IRel - Texto da Carta Magna

Antecipando sobre este evento:
Magna Carta, 800 anos
http://diplomatizzando.blogspot.com.br/2015/06/magna-carta-800-anos-coloquio-no-irel.html

informo a seguir sobre um artigo que publiquei um ano atrás, antecipando sobre as comemorações deste ano e transmitindo minha opinião sobre como o Brasil, sobretudo suas elites políticas, ainda está muito aquém dos princípios e valores da Magna Carta


Os 800 anos da Magna Carta”, 
jornal O Estado de S. Paulo (14/07/2014)
Relação de Originais n. 2625; Publicados n. 1135.

Transcrevo a seguir o texto em inglês moderno da Magna Carta, para os curiosos sobre seu conteúdo "medieval", destacando estes parágrafos: 

[1] (...) We furthermore grant and give to all the freemen of our realm for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity the liberties written below to have and to hold to them and their heirs from us and our heirs in perpetuity.
 
[11] Common pleas are not to follow our court but are to be held in a certain fixed place.

[29] No freeman is to be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his free tenement or of his liberties or free customs, or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go against such a man or send against him save by lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell or deny of delay right or justice.

Magna Carta Translation
 
[Preamble] Edward by the grace of God King of England, lord of Ireland and duke of Aquitaine sends greetings to all to whom the present letters come. We have inspected the great charter of the lord Henry, late King of England, our father, concerning the liberties of England in these words:

Henry by the grace of God King of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and count of Anjou sends greetings to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, sheriffs, reeves, ministers and all his bailiffs and faithful men inspecting the present charter. Know that we, at the prompting of God and for the health of our soul and the souls of our ancestors and successors, for the glory of holy Church and the improvement of our realm, freely and out of our good will have given and granted to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons and all of our realm these liberties written below to hold in our realm of England in perpetuity.

[1] In the first place we grant to God and confirm by this our present charter for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity that the English Church is to be free and to have all its rights fully and its liberties entirely. We furthermore grant and give to all the freemen of our realm for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity the liberties written below to have and to hold to them and their heirs from us and our heirs in perpetuity.

[2] If any of our earls or barons, or anyone else holding from us in chief by military service should die, and should his heir be of full age and owe relief, the heir is to have his inheritance for the ancient relief, namely the heir or heirs of an earl for a whole county £100, the heir or heirs of a baron for a whole barony 100 marks, the heir or heirs of a knight for a whole knight’s fee 100 shillings at most, and he who owes less will give less, according to the ancient custom of (knights’) fees.

[3] If, however, the heir of such a person is under age, his lord is not to have custody of him and his land until he has taken homage from the heir, and after such an heir has been in custody, when he comes of age, namely at twenty-one years old, he is to have his inheritance without relief and without fine, saving that if, whilst under age, he is made a knight, his land will nonetheless remain in the custody of his lords until the aforesaid term.

[4] The keeper of the land of such an heir who is under age is only to take reasonable receipts from the heir’s land and reasonable customs and reasonable services, and this without destruction or waste of men or things. And if we assign custody of any such land to a sheriff or to anyone else who should answer to us for the issues, and such a person should commit destruction or waste, we will take recompense from him and the land will be assigned to two law-worthy and discreet men of that fee who will answer to us or to the person to whom we assign such land for the land’s issues. And if we give or sell to anyone custody of any such land and that person commits destruction or waste, he is to lose custody and the land is to be assigned to two law-worthy and discreet men of that fee who similarly will answer to us as is aforesaid.

[5] The keeper, for as long as he has the custody of the land of such (an heir), is to maintain the houses, parks, fishponds, ponds, mills and other things pertaining to that land from the issues of the same land, and he will restore to the heir, when the heir comes to full age, all his land stocked with ploughs and all other things in at least the same condition as when he received it. All these things are to be observed in the custodies of archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbeys, priories, churches and vacant offices which pertain to us, save that such custodies ought not to be sold.

[6] Heirs are to be married without disparagement.

[7] A widow, after the death of her husband, is immediately and without any difficulty to have her marriage portion and her inheritance, nor is she to pay anything for her dower or her marriage portion or for her inheritance which her husband and she held on the day of her husband’s death, and she shall remain in the chief dwelling place of her husband for forty days after her husband’s death, within which time dower will be assigned her if it has not already been assigned, unless that house is a castle, and if it is a castle which she leaves, then a suitable house will immediately be provided for her in which she may properly dwell until her dower is assigned to her in accordance with what is aforesaid, and in the meantime she is to have her reasonable necessities (estoverium) from the common property. As dower she will be assigned the third part of all the lands of her husband which were his during his lifetime, save when she was dowered with less at the church door. No widow shall be distrained to marry for so long as she wishes to live without a husband, provided that she gives surety that she will not marry without our assent if she holds of us, or without the assent of her lord, if she holds of another.

[8] Neither we nor our bailiffs will seize any land or rent for any debt, as long as the existing chattels of the debtor suffice for the payment of the debt and as long as the debtor is ready to pay the debt, nor will the debtor’s guarantors be distrained for so long as the principal debtor is able to pay the debt; and should the principal debtor default in his payment of the debt, not having the means to repay it, or should he refuse to pay it despite being able to do so, the guarantors will answer for the debt and, if they wish, they are to have the lands and rents of the debtor until they are repaid the debt that previously they paid on behalf of the debtor, unless the principal debtor can show that he is quit in respect to these guarantors.

[9] The city of London is to have all its ancient liberties and customs. Moreover we wish and grant that all other cities and boroughs and vills and the barons of the Cinque Ports and all ports are to have all their liberties and free customs.

[10] No-one is to be distrained to do more service for a knight’s fee or for any other free tenement than is due from it.

[11] Common pleas are not to follow our court but are to be held in a certain fixed place.

[12] Recognisances of novel disseisin and of mort d’ancestor are not to be taken save in their particular counties and in the following way. We or, should we be outside the realm, our chief justiciar, will send our justices once a year to each county, so that, together with the knights of the counties, that may take the aforesaid assizes in the counties; and those assizes which cannot be completed in that visitation of the county by our aforesaid justices assigned to take the said assizes are to be completed elsewhere by the justices in their visitation; and those which cannot be completed by them on account of the difficulty of various articles (of law) are to be referred to our justices of the Bench and completed there.

[13] Assizes of darrein presentment are always to be taken before our justices of the Bench and are to be completed there.

[14] A freeman is not to be amerced for a small offence save in accordance with the manner of the offence, and for a major offence according to its magnitude, saving his sufficiency (salvo contenemento suo), and a merchant likewise, saving his merchandise, and any villain other than one of our own is to be amerced in the same way, saving his necessity (salvo waynagio) should he fall into our mercy, and none of the aforesaid amercements is to be imposed save by the oath of honest and law-worthy men of the neighbourhood. Earls and barons are not to be amerced save by their peers and only in accordance with the manner of their offence.

[15] No town or free man is to be distrained to make bridges or bank works save for those that ought to do so of old and by right.

[16] No bank works of any sort are to be kept up save for those that were in defense in the time of King H(enry II) our grandfather and in the same places and on the same terms as was customary in his time.

[17] No sheriff, constable, coroner or any other of our bailiffs is to hold pleas of our crown.

[18] If anyone holding a lay fee from us should die, and our sheriff or bailiff shows our letters patent containing our summons for a debt that the dead man owed us, our sheriff or bailiff is permitted to attach and enroll all the goods and chattels of the dead man found in lay fee, to the value of the said debt, by view of law-worthy men, so that nothing is to be removed thence until the debt that remains is paid to us, and the remainder is to be released to the executors to discharge the will of the dead man, and if nothing is owed to us from such a person, all the chattels are to pass to the (use of) the dead man, saving to the dead man’s wife and children their reasonable portion.

[19] No constable or his bailiff is to take corn or other chattels from anyone who not themselves of a vill where a castle is built, unless the constable or his bailiff immediately offers money in payment of obtains a respite by the wish of the seller. If the person whose corn or chattels are taken is of such a vill, then the constable or his bailiff is to pay the purchase price within forty days.

[20] No constable is to distrain any knight to give money for castle guard if the knight is willing to do such guard in person or by proxy of any other honest man, should the knight be prevented from doing so by just cause. And if we take or send such a knight into the army, he is to be quit of (castle) guard in accordance with the length of time the we have him in the army for the fee for which he has done service in the army.

[21] No sheriff or bailiff of ours or of anyone else is to take anyone’s horses or carts to make carriage, unless he renders the payment customarily due, namely for a two-horse cart ten pence per day, and for a three-horse cart fourteen pence per day. No demesne cart belonging to any churchman or knight or any other lady (sic) is to be taken by our bailiffs, nor will we or our bailiffs or anyone else take someone else’s timber for a castle or any other of our business save by the will of he to whom the timber belongs.

[22] We shall not hold the lands of those convicted of felony save for a year and a day, whereafter such land is to be restored to the lords of the fees.

[23] All fish weirs (kidelli) on the Thames and the Medway and throughout England are to be entirely dismantled, save on the sea coast.

[24] The writ called ‘praecipe’ is not to be issued to anyone in respect to any free tenement in such a way that a free man might lose his court.

[25] There is to be a single measure for wine throughout our realm, and a single measure for ale, and a single measure for Corn, that is to say the London quarter, and a single breadth for dyed cloth, russets, and haberjects, that is to say two yards within the lists. And it shall be the same for weights as for measures.

[26] Henceforth there is to be nothing given for a writ of inquest from the person seeking an inquest of life or member, but such a writ is to be given freely and is not to be denied.

[27] If any persons hold from us at fee farm or in socage or burgage, and hold land from another by knight service, we are not, by virtue of such a fee farm or socage or burgage, to have custody of the heir or their land which pertains to another’s fee, nor are we to have custody of such a fee farm or socage or burgage unless this fee farm owes knight service. We are not to have the custody of an heir or of any land which is held from another by knight service on the pretext of some small serjeanty held from us by service of rendering us knives or arrows or suchlike things.

[28] No bailiff is henceforth to put any man on his open law or on oath simply by virtue of his spoken word, without reliable witnesses being produced for the same.

[29] No freeman is to be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his free tenement or of his liberties or free customs, or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go against such a man or send against him save by lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell or deny of delay right or justice.

[30] All merchants, unless they have been previously and publicly forbidden, are to have safe and secure conduct in leaving and coming to England and in staying and going through England both by land and by water to buy and to sell, without any evil exactions, according to the ancient and right customs, save in time of war, and if they should be from a land at war against us and be found in our land at the beginning of the war, they are to be attached without damage to their bodies or goods until it is established by us or our chief justiciar in what way the merchants of our land are treated who at such a time are found in the land that is at war with us, and if our merchants are safe there, the other merchants are to be safe in our land.

[31] If anyone dies holding of any escheat such as the honour of Wallingford, Boulogne, Nottingham, Lancaster or of other escheats which are in our hands and which are baronies, his heir is not to give any other relief or render any other service to us that would not have been rendered to the baron if the barony were still held by a baron, and we shall hold such things in the same way as the baron held them, nor, on account of such a barony or escheat, are we to have the escheat or custody of any of our men unless the man who held the barony or the escheat held elsewhere from us in chief.

[32] No free man is henceforth to give or sell any more of his land to anyone, unless the residue of his land is sufficient to render due service to the lord of the fee as pertains to that fee.

[33] All patrons of abbeys which have charters of the kings of England over advowson or ancient tenure or possession are to have the custody of such abbeys when they fall vacant just as they ought to have and as is declared above.

[34] No-one is to be taken or imprisoned on the appeal of woman for the death of anyone save for the death of that woman’s husband.

[35] No county court is to be held save from month to month, and where the greater term used to be held, so will it be in future, nor will any sheriff or his bailiff make his tourn through the hundred save for twice a year and only in the place that is due and customary, namely once after Easter and again after Michaelmas, and the view of frankpledge is to be taken at the Michaelmas term without exception, in such a way that every man is to have his liberties which he had or used to have in the time of King H(enry II) my grandfather or which he has acquired since. The view of frankpledge is to be taken so that our peace be held and so that the tithing is to be held entire as it used to be, and so that the sheriff does not seek exceptions but remains content with that which the sheriff used to have in taking the view in the time of King H(enry) our grandfather.

[36] Nor is it permitted to anyone to give his land to a religious house in such a way that he receives it back from such a house to hold, nor is it permitted to any religious house to accept the land of anyone in such way that the land is restored to the person from whom it was received to hold. If anyone henceforth gives his land in such a way to any religious house and is convicted of the same, the gift is to be entirely quashed and such land is to revert to the lord of that fee.

[37] Scutage furthermore is to be taken as it used to be in the time of King H(enry) our grandfather, and all liberties and free customs shall be preserved to archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, Templars, Hospitallers, earls, barons and all others, both ecclesiastical and secular persons, just as they formerly had.

All these aforesaid customs and liberties which we have granted to be held in our realm in so far as pertains to us are to be observed by all of our realm, both clergy and laity, in so far as pertains to them in respect to their own men. For this gift and grant of these liberties and of others contained in our charter over the liberties of the forest, the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights, fee holders and all of our realm have given us a fifteenth part of all their movable goods. Moreover we grant to them for us and our heirs that neither we nor our heirs will seek anything by which the liberties contained in this charter might be infringed or damaged, and should anything be obtained from anyone against this it is to count for nothing and to be held as nothing. 

With these witnesses: the lord S(tephen) archbishop of Canterbury, E(ustace) bishop of London, J(ocelin) bishop of Bath, P(eter) bishop of Winchester, H(ugh) bishop of Lincoln, R(ichard) bishop of Salisbury, W. bishop of Rochester, W(illiam) bishop of Worcester, J(ohn) bishop of Ely, H(ugh) bishop of Hereford, R(anulf) bishop of Chichester, W(illiam) bishop of Exeter, the abbot of (Bury) St Edmunds, the abbot of St Albans, the abbot of Battle, the abbot of St Augustine’s Canterbury, the abbot of Evesham, the abbot of Westminster, the abbot of Peterborough, the abbot of Reading, the abbot of Abingdon, the abbot of Malmesbury, the abbot of Winchcombe, the abbot of Hyde (Winchester), the abbot of Chertsey, the abbot of Sherborne, the abbot of Cerne, the abbot of Abbotsbury, the abbot of Milton (Abbas), the abbot of Selby, the abbot of Cirencester, H(ubert) de Burgh the justiciar, H. earl of Chester and Lincoln, W(illiam) earl of Salisbury, W(illiam) earl Warenne, G. de Clare earl of Gloucester and Hertford, W(illiam) de Ferrers earl of Derby, W(illiam) de Mandeville earl of Essex, H(ugh) Bigod earl of Norfolk, W(illiam) earl Aumale, H(umphrey) earl of Hereford, J(ohn) constable of Chester, R(obert) de Ros, R(obert) fitz Walter, R(obert) de Vieuxpont, W(illiam) Brewer, R(ichard) de Montfiquet, P(eter) fitz Herbert, W(illiam) de Aubigné, G. Gresley, F. de Braose, J(ohn) of Monmouth, J(ohn) fitz Alan, H(ugh) de Mortemer, W(illiam) de Beauchamp, W(illiam) de St John, P(eter) de Maulay, Brian de Lisle, Th(omas) of Moulton, R(ichard) de Argentan, G(eoffrey) de Neville, W(illiam) Mauduit, J(ohn) de Baalon and others. Given at Westminster on the eleventh day of February in the ninth year of our reign.

We, holding these aforesaid gifts and grants to be right and welcome, conceed and confirm them for ourselves and our heirs and by the terms of the present (letters) renew them, wishing and granting for ourselves and our heirs that the aforesaid charter is to be firmly and inviably observed in all and each of its articles in perpetuity, including any articles contained in the same charter which by chance have not to date been observed. In testimony of which we have had made these our letters patent. Witnessed by Edward our son, at Westminster on the twelfth day of October in the twenty-fifth year of our reign. (Chancery warranty by John of) Stowe.

Translation by Professor Nicholas Vincent, Copyright Sotheby's Inc. 2007