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MAGNA CARTA


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Author Topic: MAGNA CARTA  (Read 947 times)
Bianca
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« on: December 06, 2007, 08:02:14 pm »



John of England signs Magna Carta.

Illustration from
Cassell's
History of England
(1902)









Rebellion and signing of the document
 


By 1215, some of the most important barons in England had had enough, and they entered London in force on June 10, 1215, with the city showing its sympathies with their cause by opening its gates to them. They, and many of the moderates not in overt rebellion, forced King John to agree to the "Articles of the Barons", to which his Great Seal was attached in the meadow at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. In return, the barons renewed their oaths of fealty to King John on June 19, 1215. A formal document to record the agreement was created by the royal chancery on July 15: this was the original Magna Carta. An unknown number of copies of it were sent out to officials, such as royal sheriffs and bishops.

The most significant clause for King John at the time was clause 61, known as the "security clause", the longest portion of the document. This established a committee of 25 barons who could at any time meet and over-rule the will of the king, through force by seizing his castles and possessions if needed. This was based on a medieval legal practice known as distraint, but it was the first time it had been applied to a monarch. In addition, the king was to take an oath of loyalty to the committee.

Clause 61 essentially neutered John's power as a monarch, making him king in name only. He renounced it as soon as the barons left London, plunging England into a civil war, called the First Barons' War. Pope Innocent III also annulled the "shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the king by violence and fear." He rejected any call for restraints on the king, saying it impaired John's dignity. He saw it as an affront to the Church's authority over the king and the 'papal territories' of England and Ireland, and he released John from his oath to obey it.




Magna Carta re-issued



John died during the war, from dysentery, on October 18, 1216, and this quickly changed the nature of the war. His nine-year-old son, Henry III, was next in line for the throne. The royalists believed the rebel barons would find the idea of loyalty to the child Henry more palatable, so the boy was swiftly crowned in late October 1216, and the war ended.

Henry's regents reissued Magna Carta in his name on November 12, 1216, omitting some clauses, such as clause 61, and again in 1217. When he turned 18 in 1225, Henry III reissued Magna Carta, this time in a shorter version with only 37 articles.

Henry III ruled for 56 years (the longest reign of an English Monarch in the Medieval period) so that by the time of his death in 1272, Magna Carta had become a settled part of English legal precedent.

Henry III's son and heir Edward I's Parliament reissued Magna Carta for the final time on October 12, 1297, as part of a statute called Confirmatio cartarum, reconfirming Henry III's shorter version of Magna Carta from 1225.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 07:05:57 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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