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Author Topic: MAGNA CARTA  (Read 1253 times)
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« on: December 06, 2007, 08:33:59 pm »

Glorious Revolution

The danger posed by the fact that Charles II had no legitimate child was becoming more and more real, as this meant that the heir apparent was the Duke of York, a Catholic and firm believer in the divine right of kings, threatening the establishment of the Commons' as the most powerful arm of government.

Parliament did all it could to prevent James’ succession but was prevented when Charles dissolved the Parliament. In February 1685, Charles died of a stroke and James II assumed the throne of the United Kingdom. Almost straight away James attempted to impose Catholicism as the religion of the country and to regain the royal prerogative now vested in the Parliament. Parliament was slightly placated when James’ four-year-old son died in 1677 and it seemed his Protestant daughter Mary would take his throne. However when James' second wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a male heir in 1688 Parliament could not take the risk that another Catholic monarch would assume the throne and take away their power, and in 1688 the Convention Parliament declared that James had broken the contract of Magna Carta and nullified his claim to the throne. This finally proved that Parliament was the major power in the British Government; Mary, James II's eldest daughter was invited to take the throne with her husband William of Orange.

Many thought that, with bringing in a new monarch, it would be prudent to define what powers this monarch should have, so the Bill of Rights was created. The Bill of Rights went far beyond what the Magna Carta had ever set out to achieve. It stated that the crown could not make law without Parliament. Although the raising of taxes was specifically mentioned, it did not limit itself to such, as Magna Carta did. However, one important thing to note is that the writers of the bill did not seem to think that the Bill included any new provisions of law; all the powers it ‘removes’ from the crown it refers to as ‘pretended’ powers, insinuating that the rights of Parliament listed in the Bill already existed under a different authority, presumably Magna Carta.

So the importance of Magna Carta was not completely extinguished at this point, although it was somewhat diminished.
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