Government and Politics


What was the Bill of Rights of 1689?

The English bill, accepted by King William III (1650–1702), who ruled jointly with his Protestant wife Queen Mary II (1662–1694), seriously limited royal power. After a struggle between the Stuart kings and Parliament and the subsequent ousting of King James II (1633–1701), Parliament presented the Bill of Rights to King William and Queen Mary as a condition of their ascension: The document not only described certain civil and political rights and liberties as “true, ancient, and indubitable,” but it also ironed out how the throne would be succeeded. This point was of critical importance to the future of England—the article stipulated that no Roman Catholic would rule the country. Since the Bill of Rights served to assert the role of Parliament in the government of England, it is considered one of the seminal documents of British constitutional law.


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