The Magna Carta Essay

780 words - 4 pages

The Magna Carta

One of the most important historical events of the Medieval era is the Magna Carta. What exactly is the Magna Carta? It 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. The purpose of the Magna Carta was to limit 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. ...view middle of the document...

Clause 1 contains at least two important changes. The first is its statement that “the Church of England shall be free.” A second important part of Clause 1 is the use of the word freemen. Over time, the category of freemen came to apply to an increasingly wide range of people, and this has allowed the Magna Carta to be interpreted flexibly over the centuries. Clauses 2-7 address feudal relationships and rights. They define the boundaries of relationships with the king and protect the rights of the nobles from the royal authority. Clause 8 indicates the relationship between debtors and sureties. A surety was someone who was responsible for a debt if the debtor could not pay. This clause says that a debt collector could not go to the surety without first attempting to collect the debt from the debtor. Clause 9 states that London was granted all of the traditional rights and privileges that the city previously had. Clause 10 defines the terms of military service under the feudal code. Clauses 11 through 14 deal with issues of justice. Clauses 15-24 define the feudal rights of the king and the barons. They applied to property and matters of civil justice. Clauses 19 through 21 share the common theme of property rights....

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