TOPEKA – (June 26, 2019) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Chief Judge Evelyn Wilson will host a local display on the history of the Magna Carta – the 13th century document that set the course for democracy in England, and greatly influenced democracy in the United States.
The exhibit will be on display at the State Capitol, 2nd floor rotunda, from July 1-12 and the Kansas Supreme Court Library from July 15-31. School classes, youth groups, civic clubs and members of the public are invited to visit the display during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Capitol; however, the display will be closed on the July 4th holiday. Those interested in visiting the display at the Supreme Court Library may do so between 8 a.m. to to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“While the Magna Carta began as a series of grievances from barons in medieval England, the fundamental rights that were laid out in that document were later echoed in our own Declaration of Independence, and have been symbolic of liberty and democracy,” Schmidt said. “I encourage civic clubs, educators and other interested citizens to use this opportunity to discuss our civic history and to engage in learning about the precious system of self-government we have inherited from those who came before.”
The Magna Carta has also had great influence on the development of laws.
“In our current culture, it doesn’t seem unusual for citizens to challenge a law by proposing a different one,” Wilson said. “That wasn’t always the case. Before the Magna Carta, the idea of challenging the authority of the ruling monarch was not only preposterous, it was life-threatening. The Magna Carta had a great effect on the development of what is now our democracy, and so today we are a nation governed by laws, not the whimsy of a King or Queen.”
Schmidt and Wilson encouraged all local residents, and particularly students, to visit the display and learn more about the Magna Carta’s legacy. Those interested in requesting a presentation at the Capitol may contact the Kansas Historical Society Visitor Center staff at (785) 296-3966. Those interested in requesting a presentation at the Supreme Court Library may contact the Kansas Supreme Court Library staff at (785) 296-3257.
The exhibit was produced by the American Bar Association in honor of the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary in 2015. Although that anniversary has passed, the exhibit is on traveling display. More information about the display and the Magna Carta is available on the attorney general’s website at www.ag.ks.gov/magna-carta.