Magna Carta – 1215
One of the most important historical events of the Medieval era is the Magna Carta. What is the Magna Carta? The Magna Carta is a document that King John of England (1166 - 1216) was forced into signing. King John was forced into signing the charter because it greatly reduced the power he held as the King of England and allowed for the formation of a powerful parliament. The Magna Carta became the basis for English citizen's rights. What was the purpose of the Magna Carta? The purpose of the Magna Carta was to curb the King and make him govern by the old English laws that had prevailed before the Normans came. The Magna Carta was a collection of 37 English laws - some copied, some recollected, some old and some new. The Magna Carta demonstrated that the power of the king could be limited by a written grant. The content of the Magna Carta was drafted by Archbishop Stephen Langton and the most powerful Barons of England. King John signed the document which was originally called the 'Articles of the Barons' on June 10, 1215. The barons renewed the Oath of Fealty to King John on June 15, 1215. The royal chancery produced a formal royal grant, based on the agreements reached at Runnymede, which became known as Magna Carta. Copies of the Magna Carta were distributed to bishops, sheriffs and other important people throughout England. The Magna Carta was signed by King John on June 15, 1215, at Runnymede in Egham, Surrey, South England ( between Windsor and Staines). The Magna Carta is considered the founding document of English liberties and hence American liberties. What events led up to King John being forced into the signing of the Magna Carta? * In 1205 King John quarrelled with the Pope Innocent III about who should be archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope wanted a man named Stephen Langton to be archbishop, but King John swore he should never come to England. * In 1209 The pope retaliated, excommunicated King John and banned all church services in all parish churches * King John gave in, and Pope Innocent made the king and people pay him money whenever he demanded it. * Taxes levied by King John were extortionate. His reprisals against defaulters were ruthless and his idea justice was considered avaricious * In 1212 King John imposes taxes on the Barons in his attempts to regain the lost lands of Aquitaine, Poitou and Anjou * King John quarrels with the Barons over his methods of ruling England * The Barons and Stephen Langton decided to curb the King and make him govern by the old English laws that had prevailed before the Normans came. The demands of the Barons were documented in the 'Articles of the Barons' in January 1215 * The Barons took up arms against King John
* The Barons captured London in May 1215
* In June the Barons, in full armor, took King John by surprise at Windsor and he agreed to a meeting at Runnymede * King John signed and sealed the document on June 10, 1215 * The barons renewed the Oath of Fealty to King John on June 15, 1215 * The royal chancery produced a formal royal grant, based on the agreements reached at Runnymede, which became known as Magna Carta * Copies of the Magna Carta were distributed to bishops, sheriffs and other important people throughout England Magna Carta became the symbol against oppression, the symbol of the constitution over the king, or as seen in the photo above, a symbol of freedom under law. Magna Carta is a preamble and 63 clauses.
The clauses can be divided into nine groups, regarding:
2. feudal law;
3. feudal law - subtenants;
4. towns, trade, merchants;
5. reforms of law;
6. behavior of governmental officials;
7. royal forests;
8. immediate issues, e.g. dismissal of John's foreign mercenaries; 9. ensuring the king is acting according to this agreement.
Summary of the Magna Carta:
* The Church was to be free from royal interference, especially in the selection of...
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