Teaching Democracy: The Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus

Posted by Speakeasy News > Wednesday 31 October 2018 > Webpicks

The Magna Carta is the foundation of British democracy, with its limitations of the power of the monarchy and the guarantee of habeas corpus, the right not to be imprisoned without a fair trial. Some simple resources from the British Library can introduce your pupils to this important cultural concept.

The British Library has provided lots of teaching resources around the Magna Carta.  One that is specifically aimed at overseas as well as UK students is around Digital Rights, with the idea of creating a Magna Carta for the Internet. Classes were originally asked to submit suggestions for clauses, but the resources are useful in and of themselves. They have scenarios that pupils can relate to, like insults online, an online party invitation launched anonymously, schools censoring content…

This video is short and simple, giving the historical background, explaining the limitations of the document's scope at the time, and explaining the continuing importance of Magna Carta today, in British law, the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The animated images help comprehension of the text (both voice-over and onscreen). Usable from A2.

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