Most Americans believe that our "Bill of Rights" was something entirely original. That is only partially true. Our Bill of Rights recognized some God-given rights not previously recognized, but it was not entirely new.

Protestant Prince William of Orange and his wife Mary, were crowned as King and Queen of England in Westminster Abbey on April 11, 1689. The English "elite" had succeeded in throwing out Catholic King James for his offenses to the Protestant Church, as he zealously promoted Roman Catholicism in England.

As part of their oaths, William & Mary were required to swear that they would obey the laws of Parliament. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 was read to them, to which King William responded "We thankfully accept what you have offered us" and that he and Mary would be subject to the law and have guidance from Parliament. After their coronation, the Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament and given Royal Assent by the King and Queen. This ended the concept of "divine rights of kings".

The Bill of Rights first listed the wrongs of King James, then listed the Rights asserted under this Bill of Rights, some of which became part of American Bill of Rights. Some things included were: suspension of laws by the King & Queen were illegal; raising money without act of Parliament is illegal; free election of members of Parliament; freedom of speech; excessive bail should not be required; petitioning the King should not be punished.

Some things which are interesting in this Bill of Rights: Protestants may have arms for their defense (apparently Catholics could not); all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction, are illegal and void; and that raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is against the law.

This 1689 English Bill of Rights undoubtedly was read, studied and portion adopted or at least figured into the drafting of our own "Bill of Rights" which became a part of our Constitution, when they were ratified on December 15, 1791.

We often think of form of government, as being old. In 1976 we celebrated our Bi-Centennial in 1976, being 200 years old. It is interesting that it was over 100 years from the adoption of the 1689 English Bill of Rights to the adoption of our own Bill of Rights.

Note: 404 words.

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Article #49