martes, 23 de septiembre de 2014

4º British: English Parliamentarism

We have started! Here you have some complements for this first lesson of the year...

The first step was the Magna Carta Libertatis (1215). In this link of the British Library you can read the full text and learn about its historical context. 

It was not always easy to accept this situation and the kingdom broke into a Civil War (1603), between the royalist of Charles I and the supporters of Oliver Cromwell. You can read more info in this link from BBC History or watch this animated video from Educational Portal

After the Restoration, the new king, William of Orange, accepted the Bill of Rights Act (1689). Based on the ideas of John Locke, the Bill of Rights was part of a package of laws that reformed the English constitution at this time with the other two being the Toleration Act  (which promoted limited religious toleration) and the Triennial Act (which prevented the King from dissolving Parliament).

Key Points of the Bill of Rights are: 

  • Roman Catholics were barred from the throne by this Act.
  • The right of free petitioning was reinstated by the Act.
  • The Act places a prohibition against arbitrary suspension of Parliament's laws by the sovereign.
  • The Act limits the sovereigns' right to raise money through taxation, with the consent of Parliament being needed.
  • The Act guarantees the sovereign will not interfere in the free and fair elections of Members of Parliament.
  • The Act guarantees the freedom of speech of Members of Parliament within parliamentary debates or proceedings (this means that MPs are free to say things that could be considered libellous or otherwise illegal while participating in parliamentary debates without fear of prosecution in the civil or criminal courts).
  • The Act makes it illegal for the sovereign to keep military forces within the kingdom in time of peace without consent of Parliament, which is one of the reasons the military is funded on an annual basis by parliament.
  • The act makes the imposition of excessive fines or cruel punishments illegal.

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