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MAGNA CARTA


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Author Topic: MAGNA CARTA  (Read 949 times)
Bianca
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« on: December 06, 2007, 08:20:44 pm »








Great Council



The first long-term constitutional effect arose from Clauses 14 and 61, which permitted a council composed of the most powerful men in the country to exist for the benefit of the state rather than in allegiance to the monarch. Members of the council were also allowed to renounce their oath of allegiance to the king in pressing circumstances and to pledge allegiance to the council and not to the king in certain instances. The common council was responsible for taxation, and although it was not representative, its members were bound by decisions made in their absence. The common council, later called the Great Council, was England's proto-parliament.

The Great Council only existed to give input on the opinion of the kingdom as a whole, and it only had power to control scutage until 1258 when Henry III got into debt fighting in Sicily for the pope. The barons agreed to a tax in exchange for reform, leading to the Provisions of Oxford. But Henry got a papal bull allowing him to set aside the provisions and in 1262 told royal officers to ignore the provisions and only to obey Magna Carta. The barons revolted and seized the Tower of London, the Cinque ports and Gloucester. Initially the king surrendered, but when Louis IX of France arbitrated in favour of Henry, Henry crushed the rebellion. Later he ceded somewhat, passing the Statute of Marlborough in 1267, which allowed writs for breaches of Magna Carta to be free of charge, enabling anyone to have standing to apply the Charter.

This secured the position of the Great Council forever, but its powers were still very limited. The council originally only met three times per year and so was subservient to the king’s council, Curiae Regis, who, unlike the Great Council, followed the king wherever he went.

Still, in some senses the council was an early form of parliament. It had the power to meet outside the authority of the king and was not appointed by him. While executive government descends from the Curiae Regis, parliament descends from the Great Council, which was later called the parliamentum. However, the Great Council was very different from modern parliament. There were no knights, let alone commons, and it was composed of the most powerful men, rather than elected citizens.

Magna Carta had little effect on subsequent development of parliament until the Tudor period. Knights and count representatives attended the Great Council (Simon de Montfort’s Parliament), and the council became far more representative under the model parliament of Edward I which included two knights from each county, two burgesses from each borough and two citizens from each city. The Commons separated from the Lords in 1341. The right of the Commons to exclusively sanction taxes (based on a withdrawn provision of Magna Carta) was re-asserted in 1407, although it was not in force in this period. The power vested in the Great Council by, albeit withdrawn, Clause 14 of Magna Carta became vested in the House of Commons but Magna Carta was all but forgotten for about a century, until the Tudors.





Tudor dynasty



The Magna Carta was the first entry on the statute books, but after 1472, it was not mentioned for a period of nearly 100 years. There was much ignorance about the document. The few who did know about the document spoke of a good king being forced by an unstable pope and rebellious barons “to attaine the shadow of seeming liberties” and that it was a product of a wrongful rebellion against the one true authority, the king. The original Magna Carta was seen as an ancient document with shadowy origins and as having no bearing on the Tudor world. Shakespeare’s King John makes no mention of the Charter at all but focuses on the murder of Arthur. The Charter in the statute books was thought to have arisen from the reign of Henry III.
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