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Avi Davis' Introductory Speech for
Thank you for joining us here on this historic day.
For those of us living in the 21st Century it is difficult to imagine what it must have been like to live as feudal SERF in Europe at the turn of the 13th century. Your rights, if you had them, were largely circumscribed by your feudal obligations. You owned nothing - not your land, not your chattels and not even your daughters.
But in England things very different. The conquered Anglo Saxon population which for centuries had regarded their kings as a leader among equals, rather than an overlord, and they had become habituated to governance which was neither tyrannical nor arbitrary.
The Norman barons who asserted their rights on the field of Runnymede near Windsor in England in 1215 were doing so not only because they were outraged by the King's arbitrary rule, but they were asserting rights that they knew the Angles and the Saxons had themselves been asserting for centuries before them. In many ways, they had gone, as my colleague John Hancock has put it so picturesquely, "native"
When you realize that the rights that the Norman barons were demanding of their King were not 100 years old , but 800 years old in themselves, the enormity of the heritage, which is our lot, begins to dawn on you. We are the beneficiaries of a an old and sacred tradition, passed down from generation to generation and realized in a succession of documents that resulted in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution which preserve our fundamental and natural rights.
The colonists in the 1770s who rebelled against the British claiming no taxation without representation, were doing so as British subjects, not Americans, and called upon their long cherished ideals as English freemen and of course upon the Magna Carta in establishing their claims.
There is absolutely no doubt that without the Magna Carta there would have been no Declaration of Independence, no American Revolution and no Constitution. In short the world we know today - with all its attendant rights and freedom and human liberty, would have have come into being.
Sadly, that is an idea that many present day historians and academics are unwilling to recognize or give credence to.
For them, the Magna Carta was nothing but a back room deal between a crooked king and his cronies that the King almost immediately repudiated any way.
Well he did repudiate it, but his successors did not and the Magna Carta was re-affirmed and re-issued in different forms over 40 times before being codified in English law before the end of the 15th Century.
We have convened this conference in order to address both the deep historicity of this event and its impact on our present lives, examining the way in which it gave rise to due process, equality before the law, habeas corpus, the earliest forms of representative government and the very concept of human dignity.
And we are also here to examine the Anglosphere and how the ideas contained in the Magna Carta pollinated and then radiated across the world, carried to the New World by the Pilgrims and colonists; brought to Australia by the Convicts and their overseers and spread throughout the countries of the world by merchant seamen who plied their trade over the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
This story - of the spread of liberty is unlike any human story ever told . It is an extraordinary argosy, worthy of Homer and its impact has reshaped the world and allowed millions to aspire to prosperity, freedom and happiness.
It is these things that we celebrate today, while remembering the struggle it has taken to reach this exalted place in human history.
I thank you for recognizing the importance of this date and i hope you will enjoy the extraordinary range of speakers we have gathered for you.
American Freedom Alliance
11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90064, USA
Phone: (310) 444 3085 | Fax: (310) 444 3086