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English Bill of Rights 1689


The English Bill of Rights, written in 1689, helped shape the foundations of American democracy. The English House of Lords and House of Commons issued this document to express their outrage at King James II of Scotland for trying to "subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom." The document then goes on to praise William and Mary, whom the English Parliament favored as the new rulers of England. The fact that a governing body criticized a monarch and helped determine the new government was a radical event. The writers of the Declaration of Independence, who criticized the rule of King George III, undoubtedly looked to the English Bill of Rights as a model.

Source: English Parliament, "English Bill of Rights, 1689," Yale University, Avalon Project (accessed June 26, 2009).

How to Cite This Source
English Parliament, "English Bill of Rights 1689," in Virginia Civics, Item #210, (accessed October 20, 2021).
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