What did the English Bill of Rights establish?

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In December 1689, the British Parliament issued the Bill of Rights. This was an important document, drafted in the aftermath of James II's tyranny and the acceptance of the English throne by William and Mary. In essence, the Bill of Rights established the supremacy of Parliament and this is evident in a number of its clauses. The Bill allowed, for example, Parliament to convene every three years, for elections to be free from interference and for freedom of speech within each Parliament. It also banned any future monarch from keeping a standing army, e.g. a peacetime army, without Parliament's consent.

The Bill of Rights also limited royal power. It prohibited England from having a Catholic monarch, for example, and prevented any monarch from taxing the population or creating new laws without Parliament's consent. It also specified that people could petition the monarch without fear of being prosecuted. The Bill of Rights, then, weakened the power of the monarch in favour of Parliament.

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