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U.K. to Display Declaration, Bill of Rights

July 17, 2014

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For the first time ever, residents of and visitors to the United Kingdom can get an up-close view of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Thomas Jefferson's handwritten copy of the Declaration and one of 12 original copies of the Bill of Rights will join other landmark documents in a British Library display celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. That document, affixed with the royal seal by King John in 1215, was part of the inspiration for both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights). Among other things, Magna Carta gave rise to the idea that the king was not above the law, a concept that would be familiar to readers of the Declaration, which contains a long list of grievances against then-King George III.

The copy of the Bill of Rights will be on loan from the National Archives. The New York Public Library is loaning its copy of the Declaration.

The exhibit will also contain the four surviving copies of the original Magna Carta document.

The exhibit, which runs March 13-September 1, 2015, is sponsored by Linklaters, an international law firm.

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