The English Bill of Rights of 1689

Before putting together a longish post on how the “Bill of Rights” evolved as a term of art in the United States, I wanted to note a related item of interest that I’m come across in my research.  The English Bill of Rights of 1689, which was the canonical text of the Glorious Revolution and an inspiration for our Bill of Rights, was also not called the “Bill of Rights” when it was enacted.  The actual name of the statute was “An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown.”  At some point not long afterwards, the Act became known as a bill of rights or the bill of rights, but I do not know how or why that happened.

UPDATE:  The formal Short Title “The Bill of Rights” was not given to the Act until 1896.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Dan Cole says:

    Gerard, according to legislation.gov.uk, the statute was first referred to, officially at least, as the “Bill of Rights” in the Short Titles Act of 1896. See the first footnote here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/WillandMarSess2/1/2/introduction

    Dan

  2. It lays down limits on the powers of the crown and sets out the rights of Parliament and rules for freedom of speech in Parliament, the requirement for regular elections to Parliament and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution.