The Expansion of Rights

A History of Rights and the Steps to Equality

The Beginning

The Magna Carter, or "Great Charter", was established in 1215, and it limited the King's power and protected rights of the citizens under his hand. The Magna Carter was established because of the King John's abuse of power to the people. He was unfair and ruled like a dictator. The Magna Carter also contributed to our Fifth Amendment, "no person deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

English Bill of Rights

Later, in 1689, the English Parlimemt added additional rights to the previous ones established. It is known as the English Bill of Rights and expanded the protection of the people and their individual rights. The English Bill of Rights was also huge influence to documents major documents signed, including the United States Bill of Rights.

Virginia House of Burgesses

In 1619, years before the English Bill of Rights, the first legislative anywhere in the English Colonies, the House of Burgesses, was established on June 30 in Jamestown, Virginia. The House of Burgesses soon became a symbol of representative government. The house contained twenty-two members, including the governor. The House of Burgesses met once a year, until it became a royal colony in 1624, losing its power.

Mayflower Compact

In 1620, the Mayflower Compact was signed at Plymoth Rock by 41 Pilgrims. Since it was outside of England's authority, they established self-rule and self-government. The Mayflower Compact also influenced our future rights, like many other documents. The Pilgrims original plan was to land in Virginia, but the storm threw them off course, and in the end, it was for the better.

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut was written by a "rebel" living among the Puritans in 1639. Thomas Hooker looked beyond the strict laws of the Puritans and wanted a better life for many of the Puritans. He set up the colony of Connecticut and wrote the 1st state constitution. He provided more rights than the Puritans of Boston by legally letting all white men (who owned property) vote, and many people followed him to the most promising colony at the time


Through and through, we have come a long way since those times, but we still reflect on the decisions and choices made at the time that still effect us today. Many things have changed and we can't deny it either, but we are still on the road to equality. We may not get there in our lifetime, but someone else will, and hopefully we will reveal the underlying equality needed to make a better nation. There are many conflicts that need to be solved and many morals to change. Today, we still study the triumphs and failures of our past, but to learn, you must make mistakes. The Magna Carta began this long quest of equality by limiting the power of a greedy king; the Virginia House of Burgesess was a large step by becoming a symbol or representative government; the Mayflower Compact grew the notion of self-government; the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut gave a new perspective to the people about Religion; The English Bill of Rights that was later added onto the Magna Carta gave people the rights they deserved and influenced our own constitution today. Today, we must continue the path to equality and the expansion of our rights.