In my opinion, the Bill of Rights and the freedoms enumerated therein and elsewhere are significant factors in making possible the spread of Buddha's Teaching and Practice in the USA and elsewhere in the West. I have briefly touched upon this in a number of places, including in a recent Dharma Talk "Freedom of Thought, Freedom from Thought" at
and intend to clarify this further in future writings.
The following is from an interesting article about the Magna Carta and freedoms/rights:
"There was a divergence between English and American conceptions of
Magna Carta. In the Old World, it was thought of, above all, as a
guarantor of parliamentary supremacy; in the New World, it was already
coming to be seen as something that stood above both Crown and
Parliament. This difference was to have vast consequences in the 1770s.
American Revolution is now remembered on both sides of the Atlantic as a
national conflict—as, indeed, a “War of Independence.” But no one at
the time thought of it that way—not, at any rate, until the French
became involved in 1778. Loyalists and patriots alike saw it as a civil
war within a single polity, a war that divided opinion every bit as much
in Great Britain as in the colonies.
Revolutionaries weren’t rejecting their identity as Englishmen; they
were asserting it. As they saw it, George III was violating the “ancient
constitution” just as King John and the Stuarts had done. It was
therefore not just their right but their duty to resist, in the words of
the delegates to the first Continental Congress in 1774, “as Englishmen
our ancestors in like cases have usually done.”
Nowhere, at this
stage, do we find the slightest hint that the patriots were fighting
for universal rights. On the contrary, they were very clear that they
were fighting for the privileges bestowed on them by Magna Carta. The
concept of “no taxation without representation” was not an abstract
principle. It could be found, rather, in Article 12 of the Great
Charter: “No scutage or aid is to be levied in our realm except by the
common counsel of our realm.” In 1775, Massachusetts duly adopted as its
state seal a patriot with a sword in one hand and a copy of Magna Carta
in the other."
The full article is here: