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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, 08:22:13 pm »








First uses of the charter as a bill of rights



This statute was used widely in the reign of Henry VIII but was seen as no more special than any other statute and could be amended and removed. But later in the reign, the Lord Treasurer stated in the Star Chamber that many had lost their lives in the Baronial wars fighting for the liberties which were guaranteed by the Charter, and therefore it should not so easily be overlooked as a simple and regular statute.

The church often attempted to invoke the first clause of the Charter to protect itself from the attacks by Henry, but this claim was given no credence. Francis Bacon was the first to try to use Clause 39 to guarantee due process in a trial.

Although there was a re-awakening of the use of Magna Carta in common law, it was not seen (as it was later) as an entrenched set of liberties guaranteed for the people against the Crown and Government. Rather, it was a normal statute, which gave a certain level of liberties, most of which could not be relied on, least of all against the king. Therefore, the Charter had little effect on the governance of the early Tudor period. Although lay parliament evolved from the Charter, by this stage the powers of parliament had managed to exceed those humble beginnings. The Charter had no real effect until the Elizabethan age.





Reinterpretation of the charter



In the Elizabethan age, England was becoming a powerful force in Europe. In academia, earnest but futile attempts were made to prove that Parliament had Roman origins. The events at Runnymede in 1215 were "re-discovered", allowing a possibility to show the antiquity of Parliament, and Magna Carta became synonymous with the idea of an ancient house with origins in Roman government.

The Charter was interpreted as an attempt to return to a pre-Norman state of things. The Tudors saw the Charter as proof that their state of governance had existed since time immemorial and the Normans had been a brief break from this liberty and democracy. This claim is disputed in certain circles but explains how Magna Carta came to be regarded as such an important document.

Magna Carta again occupied legal minds, and it again began to shape how that government was run. Soon the Charter was seen as an immutable entity. In the trial of Arthur Hall for questioning the antiquity of the house, one of his alleged crimes was an attack on Magna Carta.
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