In commemoration of the 800th anniversary of one of the most enduring symbols of liberty and the rule of law, the Oklahoma State Capitol will host the “Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015” exhibit from March 23 to April 5.
The event will be free and open to the public. The exhibit will be displayed in the Supreme Court Hallway on the second floor of the State Capitol.
The exhibit tells the story of the Magna Carta, which is widely regarded as one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy.
“Bringing the incredible story of the Magna Carta to the halls of the people of Oklahoma’s government presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the document that makes our form of government possible,” Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge said. “We are thrilled to host this exhibit so Oklahomans can learn about and appreciate the foundations of democracy as we know it today.”
The Magna Carta stands at the heart of English and American law and has influenced the legal systems of many other democratic nations.
King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215. The document greatly reduced the power wielded by the King of England and allowed for the creation of a powerful Parliament. It thus became the basis for English citizens’ rights.
The Magna Carta is therefore considered to be the founding document of English liberties and hence of American liberties. Because of the Magna Carta, the divine right of kings was superseded by government of and by the people and legal principles such as habeas corpus.
“There’s a direct link between the Magna Carta and our state government,” Benge said.
The Library of Congress and the American Bar Association developed the traveling educational exhibit to raise awareness about the Magna Carta’s enduring legacy. The traveling exhibit, displayed on freestanding banners with images of priceless Magna Carta-related items, complements the Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor exhibition previously on display at the Library of Congress.
The traveling exhibit is brought at no cost to the state through partnerships with the Library of Congress, American Bar Association and the Federalist Society. The state’s hosts are the Oklahoma Legislature, Secretary of State Chris Benge, the Oklahoma Arts Council, and the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services.