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History Of Magna Carta Exhibit Comes To Boise

Runnymede meadow in England is where King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215.

A traveling exhibit on the Magna Carta is in Boise this week at the Idaho State Archives. The 800-year-old document helped outline America’s system of representative government.

The exhibit comes from the Library of Congress. It’s made up of fifteen panels that explain the history and importance of the Magna Carta. The exhibit lays out the history of why the document was created and how it has been tied into our democracy.

The Magna Carta is a charter of liberties created under England’s King John in 1215.

“The Magna Carta was one of the early documents in Western history where it was written down in terms of the relationship between rulers and the people whom they were ruling,” says David Matte, the administrator of the Archives.

Credit Charles D P Miller / Flickr
You can't see the actual Magna Carta at the Idaho State Archives, but you can learn all about its history and how it has affected American government.

He says the Magna Carta outlines several constitutional principles, including…“The rule of law, the right to a jury trial, the right to a speedy trial, freedom from unlawful imprisonment, protections from unlawful seizures of property, the theory of representative government, the principle of no taxation without representation and most importantly, the concept of fundamental law, law that not even the sovereign can alter."

Matte says the Magna Carta has become one of the more enduring symbols of liberty and rule of law.

Matte says the exhibit is a reminder of the importance of identifying historic records and preserving them, so others can learn from them. He says we never know what records, like the Magna Carta, will be important in the future. He says the state archives works to preserve the history of Idaho so future generations can learn about their history and the democracy they live in.

The exhibit at the Idaho State Archives on Penitentiary Road is free and runs through Saturday. It will also be at the grand opening of the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center on September 24.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio

As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.

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