The Magna Carta: a legacy

The Modern Records Centre is hosting a new exhibition, showcasing a variety of charters and movements, inspired by the Magna Carta…

This year celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the British charter set up in 1215. The Magna Carta has inspired and influenced numerous demands and campaigns for people’s freedom, justice and constitutional rights. The Chartist movement of the 19th century is probably the best known but there were many other movements inspired by the Great Charter.

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In this exhibition, the MRC has selected documents relating to such movements, which illustrate the massive impact that the Magna Carta had.  The Honesty Money Demand Society produced ‘The Gauntlet’, an anti-taxation publication, which is just one example of this impact. It was produced in association with the Magna Carta association and the British Common Law Council.

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The People’s Common Law Parliament movement was one of many similar organisations established after 1945 as a response to the devastation of WW2. It proposed a world government and promoted education in citizenship. Similar motivation led to the establishment of the League of Nations, the United Nations and the World Federalist Movement.

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This exhibition also holds material relating to Charter88, which was created in 1988 to advocate for constitutional and electoral reform. It was led by 348 mainly Liberal and Social Democratic British intellectuals and activists. Famous signatories included Billy Bragg, John Cleese, Margaret Drabble and Salman Rushdie.

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Other archive material relates to charters for equal rights, education for all, housing and land ownership, as well as campaigns designed to improve conditions for women in the workplace.

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The exhibition is free and open to all, just come into the Modern Records Centre on Warwick Campus.

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