The United States’ Founding Fathers were deeply influenced by the Magna Carta in the formation of our country. The Athenæum’s early history reflects a deep respect of, and even involvement from, many of the Founding Fathers as evidence by the purchase and care of a significant portion of George Washington’s personal library; John Adams’ membership in the Boston Athenæum; sculptures and paintings of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington throughout the building; and countless volumes about the Founding Fathers and their achievements in the special and circulating collections.
2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the founding document of Western liberty that is internationally revered and has inspired the constitutions of hundreds of countries. Its language can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and according to Dan Jones, 'the year 1215 has become in a sense "year zero" in the story of the struggle for freedom from tyranny.' In Magna Carta, Jones takes us back in time to this turbulent year, when the document in question was just a peace treaty between the third Plantagenet King, John, who was known for his cruelty and instability, and a small group of self-interested and violent barons. Jones brilliantly shows why this document has had such a lasting and international impact that continues to resonate today.
Dan Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England, now a four-part BBC television miniseries, and The Wars of the Roses, due out in October from Penguin, which charts the story of the fall of the Plantagenet dynasty and the improbable rise of the Tudors. Jones lives in London.
Registration for this event will begin on October 8 at 9:00 a.m. Please note that online registration closes at 2:00 p.m. on the day of the event. Contact the Events Department directly to register after this time.