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ERIC Number: EJ1045691
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Exploring the Legacy of Magna Carta with Students through Historic Images
Wesson, Stephen
Social Education, v78 n6 p261-264 Nov-Dec 2014
Every iconic document owes a debt to a document that came before it, just as its creators were influenced by the thinkers and writers who came before them. The Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights were revolutionary works, and have become powerful symbols of democracy worldwide. Behind them stands an even older document, one whose influence has persisted for almost 800 years--the medieval English charter known as the Magna Carta. Exploring the Magna Carta's influence and legacy, however, doesn't require a close reading of the document's Latin text. Visible evidence of the Magna Carta's influence on early American political thought can be found in two images from the collections of the Library of Congress--one from the eighteenth century and one from the nineteenth century--that both feature the Revolutionary-era writer John Dickinson. A Lawyer and writer who would later become known as the "penman of the Revolution," Dickinson was the son of a wealthy mid-Atlantic landowner. Dickinson studied law in Philadelphia and London, and was an early champion of the liberties of the American colonists. In 1767 and 1768, Dickinson gained renown as the author of a series of essays, "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania," in which he argued for the sovereign powers of the colonies. The images in the Library of Congress collection can provide students with a window into the continuing importance of the Magna Carta in the nation's memory. This article describes a lesson that provides students with an opportunity to review the images and consider the contexts in which they were created. It's especially interesting to note that one of the two documents that appear in the portrait of Dickinson is the Magna Carta. Questions are provided for leading a class discussion of the visual details and textual elements in the images. Information for accessing an on line version of a new exhibition at the Library of Congress, "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor," is provided. A few top resources from the Law Library of Congress are provided by Jeanine Cali.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A