What is the difference between the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights? I have to write an essay on this topic explaining the difference. By the way, the Magna Carta was from the Medieval Europe.

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I recently did research on both Magna Carta and Bill of Rights, to prepare for teaching a lesson on Documents of Freedom, in a boy's camp.  Yet I could not give the answer to this question without much additional research.  I suggest that you get the two documents and compare them.  Find all things that are alike between them.  This will leave all things that are different.

I recommend to you, on the Magna Carta, A.E. Dick Howard's Magna Carta: Text & Commentary, University of Virginia Press (1998).  It is a very small book.

A book that is very good on the Bill of Rights is Levy, Leonard W. 1999. Origins of the Bill of Rights. New Haven: Yale University Press.  It is also a small book, though not as small as Howard.  I think Levy may tell you which provisions of the Bill of Rights have origins in the Magna Carta, so that you can tell that everything else is different.

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To me, there are a few major differences between these two documents.

First of all, the Magna Carta was not really written to apply to everyone in the society at the time.  It only applied to freemen.  This left out serfs and such.  Of course, the Bill of Rights didn't do anything for slaves, but everyone else was protected by it.

Second, the Magna Carta only talks about things like trials and crimes.  It does not give any of the kind of personal freedoms that are important to us -- freedom of expression and freedom of religion, especially.

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