The Magna Carta Essay
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The Magna Carta, or 'Great Charter,' has been hailed as a 'sacred text' of liberty in the Western World. It is widely regarded as one of the most important and revered legal documents in history; it is a document that was forced upon English King John by his barons at Runnymedeˡ (Linebaugh 6). It is today the basic foundation of the constitution law of England2 (Sommerville Web). For over seven centuries, the English have eulogized the Magna Carta as not only the foundation of freedom but also their earliest and best protection against arbitrary governmental interference with individual liberty. According to the Guardian Newspaper issue of June 1st, 1956, Lord Alfred Denning during the service commemorating the Magna Carta’s 150th year…show more content…
By the time of the reign of King John, the obligation to serve was conveniently commuted to the payment of cash, with the resulting revenue be utilized for maintaining paid armies. Additionally, feudal custom demanded that barons give in to other exactions such as giving financial levy to the king during the marriage of the eldest daughter and other occasions. What is more, when a baron died, the King could make a host of demands from the baron's heir or family, such as succession duty, assume guardianship of, and profit from, the estate if the heir was a minor, and others (The Text).
Because of the wide scope for abuse and extortion inherent in such a feudal system, where redress was difficult, barons complained of royal abuse, some even mounting rebellions every now and then. This was true even before King John assumed power (Magna Carta). However, it is said that King John suffered fierce resistance or rebellion from the barons because of his 'reckless oppression,' imposition of high taxes, and refusal to listen to the barons (Magna Carta).
That King John faced greater rebelliousness from the barons forcing him to compromise and sign the Magna Carta could also be explained by looking into the circumstances that made his reign more difficult. Barons had a more difficult time—thus making them more rebellious—because of the territorial restrictions that followed England's
The Magna Carta (officially known as the Magne Carta Libertatum, Latin for “The Great Charter of Freedoms”) is an English legal charter written in 1215. It had a huge influence on the developing legal system of England. Many legal historians believe that the Magna Carta is one of the most important documents of all time, because it affected England’s legal system and the legal systems of many other countries, and several copies of it are on display around the world
The Magna Carta is a document that establishes that the King was not above the law, and had to follow the rules that the people had to also. King John of England signed the document after being pressured greatly by his barons and the Catholic Church. The King regularly lived above the law, violating both feudal and common law. The barons pressured King John to write out a specific list of their rights and promise that those rights would be enforced. A draft was written and the king signed the paper.
King John later broke the Magna Carta, starting a war which lasted until he died a year after the signing. His son, Henry III, took the throne, and reissued the Magna Carta in 1225, although in a different version. Many more drafts of the Magna Carta were made, enforcing its role in English society because it was constantly in use, until the final version was released by Edward the first in 1297.
The Magna Carta led to the rule of constitutional law today. The Magna Carta influenced the growth of the general law and many constitutional documents. Many documents were improved throughout the Middle Ages, and continued to be renewed as late as the 18th century. By the second half of the 19th century, however, most documents in their original form had been repealed from English law.
The Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. The kings before him would have just refused. It was preceded by...