Barons, Magna Carta and King John

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Henry II, one of the most influential’s of England’s government created and improved the judicial system as the laws of the land needed applied. His government gave fair trials to all and granted judges to cross throughout the land to maintain the criminal justice system that he created. After Henry II death Richard his son had succeeded him and maintained that his fathers’ form of government was being followed. However, Richard was not always in England due to the Crusades in the Middle East that he believed was worth fighting and with his absent his barons gained control of the government. Under both Henry II and Richard the barons were able to gain trust from the crown and gain power that had never happened before under any other monarch. When John, Henry II’s youngest son took the thrown he took away a large amount of the baron’s power and increased taxes without having council with his barons. John also took away the form of judicial system his father had created that gave fair trial to all. From these critical laws of government gone or corrupted John’s barons plotted against him and created the Magna Carta which is list of laws that were demanded to restore his father’s government. For the first time in history a monarch was forced to sign and obey laws created by his nobility. The barons wanted to limit John’s power through the Magna Carta. In which the church did have a small influence of the created charter when written.

Throughout history many historians have been trying to figure out for what reasons John’s barons created the Magna Carta. Clarie Valente, argues that barons were looking towards John consider the concepts of law and government along with their more personal agendas. However, Sidney Painter states that John was not in the right mental state to take the concepts of the law and enforce them in a way that would benefit not only him, but his barons. Also, Painter concludes that John’s relationship that he destroyed between many close barons that were loyal to him lead them to unite against him and place him within the law. J.A.P. Jones, gives great reasoning that the authority that John had created was against the law from the view point of the barons.

John the youngest son of King Henry II succeeded his father’s thrown after his brother Richard’s death in 1199. Even though John was next in line for the thrown, John’s nephew Arthur son of Geoffrey John’s elder brother. Three sets of considerations would play a part in the decision between them—the law of inheritance, the wishes of the barons and great officers of the realm, and the desires of the late king.[1] Both John and Arthur had their own support from their closest barons. England and Normandy accepted John who had been designated by his brother as heir to the whole of his dominions, the barons of Aquitaine rendered their homage to Eleanor, while those of Anjou, Main, and Touraine, in accordance with the custom of the country, swore allegiance to Arthur of Brittany.[2] John was finally recognized at Richards’s heir only by the action of his niece marring Louis son of, Philip king of France and the paying of 20,000 marks for her dowry.

When John finally came into power his kingdom had lost Normandy, rumors of him plotting the killing of his nephew Arthur. The story of John murdering Arthur in 1203 and caused speculation among King Philip of France who tried to use this reason to condemn John, however it was too late because John bought out the barons who then clamed John the rightful king of England. Rumors also started to appear that John captured Arthur’s colleagues and starved them to death, while Arthur’s sister appears to have been imprisoned at Bristol until 1241 when she died. [3]

Since his kingdom was drained of funds do to Richard’s Crusades which also left the people penniless. John’s first visit to England as chef he demanded the needs of men and money; he summoned his feudal host and ordered the levying of a scutage of...
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