Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Better than Diamonds

April's Tree
For an amateur family tree enthusiast, and history buff, the discovery I made last night was better than finding diamonds.

I found my 21xgr-grandfather, Sir John de Lacy, 7th Earl of Lincoln, was one of the twenty-five feudal barons who made an oath that they would "stand fast for the liberty of the church and the realm".  They witnessed King John affixing his seal to Magna Carta, promising rights to every freeman.  Although the king soon reneged on his promise, the document became the model for future constitutional proclamations, including the Constitution of the United States of America.

Wow. From 1215 to 2012, the freedoms proclaimed in that charter have been reaffirmed by people everywhere. The rights to due process, a timely trial by one's peers, the use of standard weights and measures, fair taxation,  and property rights were spelled out as basic human rights, to a king who recognized no rights but his own.

Freedom is better than gold, and finding a Magna Carta baron in my family tree is better than finding diamonds.

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