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   Early copy of Magna Carta on sale in NYC
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ContributorChronicler 
Last EditedChronicler  Dec 07, 2007 07:06am
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MediaWebsite - Yahoo News
News DateFriday, December 7, 2007 01:05:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy RICHARD PYLE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - In the year 1215, a group of English barons handed King John a document written on parchment. Put your royal seal on this, they said. John did, and forever changed the relationship between the monarchy and those it governed.

The document was the Magna Carta, a declaration of human rights that would set some of the guiding principles for democracy as it is known today.

While that original edict was initially ignored and John died the next year, its key ideas were included in other variations over the next few decades, most notably the right of Habeas Corpus, which protects citizens against unlawful imprisonment. More than 800 years later, about 17 copies survive, and one of those, signed by King Edward I in 1297, will go up for sale Dec. 18 at Sotheby's.

The document, which Sotheby's vice chairman David Redden calls "the most important document in the world," is expected to fetch a record $20-30 million.

While earlier versions of the royal edict were written and then ignored, Redden said, "the 1297 Magna Carta became the operative version, the one that was entered into English common law and became the law of the land," ultimately effecting democracies around the world.
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