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The Rights of Englishmen is a term that refers to the perceived natural rights of English subjects. Many of these rights have been forbidden from interference by the Crown in constitutional documents such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Right (the text of which was recognised by Parliament in the Bill of Rights 1689), and other fundamental documents. This concept was referred to in British colonies such as Australia and the Thirteen Colonies. Patriots in the latter felt these rights were violated, which subsequently became original primary justifications for the American Revolution and the resulting separation from the British Empire.


The "rights of Englishmen" had been established slowly over centuries of English history. They were certain basic rights that all subjects of the English monarch were understood to be entitled to.

The founders of America began their lives as loyal subjects of the British Crown, having equal rights with residents of Englandmarker. Centuries of respect gave these rights a special status. They included:


The historical sources of these rights are custom and law. They were confirmed by royal charters and became part of the English common law. The common law consists of the accumulated legal opinions of judges explaining their decisions in specific court cases. These decisions provide guidelines or precedents for the later judgments. The English common law provides the historical foundation of the legal systems of many countries, including the American legal system.

See also


  1. Second Continental Congress. "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America." Philadelphia. July 4, 1776.


  • (27, We The People The Citizen and the Constitution, 1997)
  • Magna Carta, 1215

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