The British Library will exhibit the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights as part of an exhibition about the Magna Carta in 2015. The Declaration of Independence will be on loan from New York Public Library, while the Bill of Rights is being offered by the US National Archives. Neither document has previously been in the UK. The groundbreaking exhibition will be held in honor of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the English legal document that subjected the king to the rules of law, and in turn inspired the American revolutionaries who drafted the Declaration and the Bill of Rights.
"It is extremely exciting," said British Library spokesperson Claire Breay. "They are the biggest loans that the library has ever had, and fitting for the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta."
New York Public Library's copy of the Declaration of Independence is a full-text version hand-written by Thomas Jefferson, incorporating changes suggested by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The Bill of Rights is one of 14 copies distributed to the 13 colonies and Congress in 1789. The copy owned by the US National Archives was originally intended for Delaware.
The exhibition will include the British Library's two copies of the Magna Carta as well several other significant items on international loan.
"The bedrock of our modern day society is rooted in the historic documents of the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights - the result of brave citizens who understood the importance of change and reform," said Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library in an interview with The Guardian.
[Image from Wikipedia]