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English Bill of Rights 1689

History of the 13 Colonies and the laws & taxes that sparked rebellion against the British

The English Bill of Rights of 1689 and its influence on the colonies and the Constitution of the United States

Early American patriots and colonists

The Bill of Rights - William and Mary

The English Bill of Rights
- William and Mary

This article on the Bill of Rights in Colonial America provides fast facts and information about the effects of the English Bill of Rights which led to Bill of Rights

  • What was the Bill of Rights?
  • The Meaning and Definition of the English Bill of Rights of 1689
  • The effect of the English Bill of Rights of 1689
  • The 1689 Bill of Rights explained
  • Suitable as an educational Social Studies resource for schools and kids
  • The 1689 Bill of Rights of England led to the 1689 Mutiny Act and the Quartering Act
American Colonies Index
Taxation in the Colonies
 

Definition of the English Bill of Rights of 1689
The Meaning and Definition of the English Bill of Rights: The 1689 English Bill of Rights was a British Law, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain in 1689 that declared the rights and liberties of the people and settling the succession in William III and Mary II following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 when James II was deposed. Note: The date of the English Bill of Rights is referred to as either dated as March 1689 or as February 13, 1688 in Old Style dating.

Summary of the English Bill of Rights
The 1689 English Bill of Rights had a massive influence on the colonies in North America and the Constitution of the United States. The most important Articles of the 1689 English Bill of Rights are as follows:

  • A frequently summoned Parliament and free elections
  • Members should have freedom of speech in Parliament
  • No armies should be raised in peacetime
  • No taxes could be levied, without the authority of parliament
  • Laws should not be dispensed with, or suspended, without the consent of parliament
  • No excessive fines should imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

Are the Articles of the English Bill of Rights sounding familiar?

 

The English Bill of Rights 1689

 

The English Bill of Rights
The English Bill of Rights established a constitutional monarchy in Great Britain. A constitutional monarchy is one in which the King or Queen has a largely ceremonial position. It is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state but their powers are defined and limited by law. Constitutional monarchies employ a parliamentary system with a Prime Minister as head of the government. The English Bill denounced King James II for abusing his power and the bill was passed as British law in December 1688. The English Bill of Rights clearly established that the monarchy could not rule without consent of Parliament. The English Bill put in place a constitutional form of government in which the rights and liberties of the individual  were protected under English law. The English Bill of Rights had a great influence on the colonies in North America and the Constitution of the United States.

English Bill of Rights Text and Words

The Provisions of the English Bill of Rights
The English Bill of Rights followed the 1688 Glorious Revolution when King James II was replaced by King William III and Mary. The provisions of this important English Bill incorporated the Declaration of Rights and consisted of:

  • A list of the misdeeds of King James II
  • Thirteen Articles confirming the rights of Parliament and the people and defining the limitations of the Crown
  • Confirmation of the accession of William and Mary to the throne of England

Important Articles in the English Bill of Rights
The important articles in the English Bill of Rights are detailed in the following chart:

Important Articles in the English Bill of Rights

Articles 1 and 2 of the English Bill of RightsLaws should not be dispensed with, or suspended, without the consent of parliament
 
 
Articles 4 and 6 of the English Bill of RightsNo armies should be raised in peace time and no taxes levied, without the authority of parliament
 
 
Articles 13 and 8 of the English Bill of RightsParliament should be frequently summoned and that there should be free elections
 
 
Article 9 of the English Bill of RightsMembers and Peers should be able to speak and act freely in Parliament
 
 
Articles 10 of the English Bill of RightsExcessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted
 
 

Important Articles in the English Bill of Rights

  

Colonial America - The Land of the Brave

  

The Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights
The 1689 English Bill of Rights is one of the two great historic documents which regulate the relations between the Crown and the people, the other document being the 1215 Magna Carta of England. The Magna Carta started the process of establishing the democratic basis of the English Monarchy by:

  • Limiting the powers of the king
  • Laying the basis for due process of law that should be known and orderly (which led to Trial by Jury)
  • Prohibiting the king from taking property or taxes without consent of the Great Council

1215 Magna Carta Text and Words

The 1689 English Bill of Rights enhanced the democratic process by:

  • Guaranteeing free elections and frequent meetings of Parliament
  • Giving English people the right to complain to the king or queen in Parliament (Free Speech)
  • Forbidding excessive fines and cruel punishment
  • Establishing representative government with laws made by a group that acts for the people

American colonists expected to have the same rights granted in England by the Magna Carta and the 1689 English Bill of Rights. When the American colonists were denied these rights tensions grew in the colonies and led to the American Revolutionary War. Many of the themes and principles contained in the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights are continued in the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, the First State Constitutions, the Articles of Confederation, the 1791 US Bill of Rights and in the U.S. Constitution.

King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215

King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215

The English Bill of Rights and the American Declaration of Independence
The 1776 American Declaration of Independence states that:

  • All men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; these are unalienable rights - rights that government cannot take away
  • Governments obtained their power from the consent of the people

Signing the Declaration of Independence

Signing the Declaration of Independence

The U.S. Bill of Rights
The 1791 U.S. Bill of Rights guarantees:

  • Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press
  • Due process of law, including protection from unfair imprisonment
  • Trial by jury protecting people from “cruel and unusual punishment”

The English Bill of Rights was followed by the 1689 Mutiny Act
The English Bill of Rights were passed as British law in December 1689. The English Bill of Rights was quickly followed by the 1689 Mutiny Act which sought to limit the maintenance of a standing army during peacetime to one year. The Quartering Acts of 1765 and 1764 were two laws that were part of the Mutiny Act which added provisions requiring quartering requirements for British troops in the American Colonies. These acts played a major part in the Boston Massacre and the protests of the American colonists in the Boston Tea Party which led to the American Revolutionary War.

 

English Bill of Rights

  • Meaning and Definition of the English Bill of Rights explained
  • History of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 explained
  • Fast Facts and info about Bill of Rights in England for kids
  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on the English Bill of Rights of 1689 explained

Colonial America - The Land of the Brave

 

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