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Why does Magna Carta matter?

《大宪章》如何影响世界?

中文 英文 双语 2015-06-23    来源:21st Century      阅读数:108810
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导读:英国《大宪章》已有八百年的历史,时至今日依旧影响整个西方世界,它为何如此重要,又有着怎样的传奇历史?

On June 15, 1215, one of the most important documents in world history was signed. The document is called the Magna Carta, Latin for “Great Charter”, and was signed by John, King of England, and his barons.
1215年6月15日,世界历史上最重要的文件之一签署,名为“Magna Carta”,即拉丁语中“大宪章”之意。文件的签字双方分别是英国国王约翰与他的男爵们。

A series of events are taking place in the UK to mark the occasion, including a flotilla of boats sailing down the Thames and a royal appearance in Runnymede, England, the site of the charter’s sealing 800 years ago.
为纪念《大宪章》签署八百周年,英国举行了一系列活动:舰队沿泰晤士河巡游,英国王室们也现身八百年前《大宪章》签署之地——英格兰的兰尼米德。

Why is the Magna Carta so important? How did it come about? What is its legacy?
《大宪章》为何如此重要?它是如何签署的?给世人留下了什么?

The Magna Carta established the rule of law. No one, not even the king, was above the law. The charter also laid the foundation for the modern judicial system in many countries.
《大宪章》奠定了法律的基石,即任何人都不能凌驾于法律之上,即使国王也不例外。《大宪章》也为许多国家现代法律体系奠定了基础。

A symbol of liberty and human rights, the Magna Carta was originally meant to be a peace treaty between King John and his barons. The king fought losing wars in France, demanding more taxes from nobility expected to pay up if the king asked.
象征着自由与人权的《大宪章》最初是英王约翰与其男爵之间的一份和平协议。当时,英国国王在对法国的战争中战败,要求贵族增加纳税。

The barons were angry about the king exploiting their loyalty and taking an absolute approach to power, so they rebelled, took over London and forced the king to negotiate.
男爵们心生怨气,认为国王利用他们的忠诚,专制独裁,于是揭竿而起,占领了伦敦,强迫约翰王进行谈判。

Power by the people
人民的权力

The Magna Carta established the principle that the people of England, at this stage represented by the barons, could limit the power of a king, explains a BBC article. It was the first formal document stating that a king had to follow the laws of the land and it guaranteed the rights of individuals against the wishes of the king. This meant people couldn’t be arrested, imprisoned or have their possessions taken away unless they were determined to have violated the law of the land by their peers. This laid the way for trial by jury, which means people are tried by their peers and guaranteed the civil rights of the individual.
如BBC的文章所写,《大宪章》确立了一项原则,即当时贵族所代表的英格兰人民可以限制国王的权力。《大宪章》是第一份正式规定国王也必须遵守《土地法》、并保证个人权利不受国王私欲侵犯的文件。这也意味着,除非众人一致认为某人违反了《土地法》,否则不得逮捕任何人、令其入狱或是没收其财产。《大宪章》因此也奠定了陪审审判制度,即由人民组成陪审团进行审判,以确保每个公民的权利。

Basically this means that the law belongs to everyone, not just the powerful. Many people regard the Magna Carta as the death certificate of despotism.
简而言之,《大宪章》的签署意味着法律面前人人平等,而不再只是归有权人所有。许多人将《大宪章》看作是专制独裁的终结。

According to Maxwell Cameron, a professor from the University of British Columbia in Canada, the Magna Carta was a first attempt to write down and formalize the rule of law. It was really a kind of proto-constitution, says Cameron in an article published on the university’s website. The Magna Carta has been looked to for inspiration by constitution writers every since.
来自加拿大英属哥伦比亚大学的教授麦斯威尔•卡梅伦认为,《大宪章》是“法治”理念第一次被白纸黑字地写入正式文件。卡梅伦在发布于学校官网上的文章中写道,《大宪章》堪称是《宪法》的前身。此后的《宪法》起草人们正是受到了《大宪章》的启示。

For example, there are strong influences from the Magna Carta in the US Declaration of Independence and US Bill of Rights. In Canada, the Magna Carta forms part of the country’s common law tradition.
例如,美国的《独立宣言》和《人权法案》就受到《大宪章》的深刻影响;在加拿大,《大宪章》则是其国家普通法的一部分。

When people talk about writing constitutions today, they talk about writing a “Magna Carta”. That phrase has become synonymous with constitutionalism.
直至今日,当人们谈起宪法,都会用“写《大宪章》”这样的说法,因为它已经成为立宪的同义词。

21英语网站版权说明  (Translator & Editor: 21英语 Sara And Li Li)


以上文章内容选自《21世纪英文报》,详情请见《21世纪英文报》1109期
辞海拾贝
Baron男爵 Flotilla舰队
Nobility贵族 Despotism专制独裁
Synonymous同义的 Constitutionalism立宪主义,立宪制度


 
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