We take our liberties for granted. They seem absolute and untouchable. But they are the result of a series of violent struggles fought over 800 years that, at times, have threatened to tear our society apart. On the frontline was a document originally inked on animal skin: Magna Carta. Distinguished constitutional historian David Starkey looks at the origins of the Great Charter, created in 1215 to check the abuses of King John – and how it nearly died at birth. He explores its subsequent deployment, its contribution to making everyone – even the monarch – subject to the rule of law, and how this quintessentially English document migrated to the North American colonies and eventually became the foundation of the US constitution.