The Magna Carta  - June 15, 1215

The summary of the Magna Carta is as follows:

The Church -  was to be free from royal interference, especially in the election of bishops.

Taxes – No taxes except the regular feudal dues were to be levied, except by the consent of the Great Council, or Parliament.

The right to due process – which led to Trial by Jury.

Weights and Measures – all weights and measures to be kept uniform throughout the realm.

The Magna Carta is considered the founding document of English liberties and hence American liberties. The influence of Magna Carta can be seen in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Article 21 from the Declaration of Rights in the Maryland Constitution of 1776 reads:

"That no freeman ought to be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land."

The "Betsy Ross" Flag 1777

On June 14,1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the flag Resolution, establishing the first congressional standard for official United States Flags.  The shape and arrangement of the stars is not mentioned – there were variations – but the legal description gives the Ross flag legitimacy.

Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.

The colors of the Great Seal are the same as the colors in the American flag. To attribute meaning to these colors, Charles Thomson, who helped design the Great Seal, reported to Congress that "White signifies purity and innocence. Red hardiness and valor and Blue... signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gettysburg Address – November 19,1863  President Abraham Lincoln

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Adam Gopnik, in The New Yorker, notes "Lincoln’s rhetoric is, instead, deliberately Biblical. (It is difficult to find a single obviously classical reference in all of his speeches.) Lincoln had mastered the sound of the King James Bible so completely that he could recast abstract issues of constitutional law in Biblical terms, making the proposition that Texas and New Hampshire should be forever bound by a single post office sound like something right out of Genesis."