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Magna Carta

The Magna Carta, or the Great Chapter was the first step toward constitutional liberty for English-speaking people everywhere in the world. The Magna Carta was signed in 1215. King John and his nobles had no clue that they were laying the foundations for this new kid of government.

Originally the Magna Carta contained 63 articles. The king was forced to sign the document by nobles wishing to get back some of their lost feudal rights. Some of the articles hinted for the good of all men. The king promised his nobles who promised certain rights to thr freeman under his control. Magna Carta was the first document that promised exact rights to all freemen in the nation.

Even though Magna Carta was signed more that 700 years ago it still has articles that have importance today. One says that no freeman should be have his land, life, or property taken away from him without a verdict of his equals or by the law of the land. Another article states that justice should not be sold, denied, or delayed. A third section says that the fuedal taxes can not be levied without the concent of the council of barons. This council became the House of Lords.

John was quick to say that Magna Carta was forced upon him to sign it so it have very little importance but within the next 100 years it was re-issued 38 times by different kings.

Magna Carta barely ever touched on the treatment of middle or lower classes. Even though that was so it still was a good step in the direction of freedom for all. It meant that there was a law which was above the king in which he could not break. European rulers was busy building up the idea that there was a right of the king that he could rule however he wished but the English were developing the theory that there is a national law that everyone including the king would have to obey.

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