“As Americans, we embrace the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our founding documents, while striving to ensure that these rights apply to all and are meaningful in the present.”

—DAVID RUBENSTEIN

National Archives

“When I bought the Magna Carta at the time I said that I was going to put it on permanent loan at the national archives as a way to make a down payment on the obligation that I have to give back to my country. And I feel as strongly today as I did when I made that statement.”

—David M. Rubenstein, February 2012

The 1297 Magna Carta: Inspiration For Americans

The 1297 Magna Carta, on loan to the National Archives from Mr. Rubenstein, is the only original on public display in the United States. During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

RECORDS OF RIGHTS

DAVID M. RUBENSTEIN GALLERY
THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES MUSEUM
Washington, DC

The David M. Rubenstein Gallery opened in December 2013. Its centerpiece is the 1297 Magna Carta, on loan to the National Archives from Mr. Rubenstein. Records of Rights is the gallery’s permanent exhibition that explores the documents and themes of the ongoing struggles of Americans to define, attain and protect their rights. The exhibit showcases the drive for civil rights for African Americans, women and immigrants—chronicling the past and current generations whose efforts to secure equality under the law have shaped the country we live in today.

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ABOUT DAVID

“This exhibition is really about making sure that people realize that we don’t have these rights automatically. We have to fight to get them, and once we get them, we have to preserve them.”

—DAVID RUBENSTEIN

Remembering the Ladies chronicles women’s efforts to gain the full rights of citizens and achieve economic self-determination.

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Shaping America: Chronicling the Drive for Civil Rights for African Americans, Women and Immigrants

Bending Towards Justice is the first of three themes featured in the Records of Rights exhibit. It examines how our nation and individual citizens struggled to reconcile the conflict between the promise of freedom and the realities of slavery and racism.

Yearning to Breathe Free explores the notion of America as a nation of immigrants and the enduring debates on the rights of newcomers.

The Records of Rights website offers the opportunity to explore the documents and themes featured in the exhibit, which examines the struggle of Americans to define, attain and protect their rights.

View the video “Behind-The-Scenes Staff Tour”

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