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1689 Bill of Rights

In 1688, King James II's pro-Catholic policies, undertaken against the will of Parliament, led to an appeal by seven parliamentarians to James's daughter, Mary, and her Dutch husband, William of Orange, to intervene. William arrived in England with a Dutch army, and James fled.

In 1689, Parliament offered the Crown to William and Mary, who accepted it along with a Bill of Rights, which was designed to prevent monarchs from trying to change laws, raise taxes or maintain an army without Parliament's consent. Elections had to be held regularly without interference, and free speech in Parliament was guaranteed. A similar Bill, the Claim of Right, was passed in Scotland. The Bill of Rights limited the power of the Crown and established in law freedoms that many believed were ancient, or derived from Magna Carta. It was the inspiration for the USA's Bill of Rights.