The Magna Carta The Document that Changed Government
What is the Magna Carta? • The Magna Carta 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.
What was the purpose of the Magna Carta? • The purpose of the Magna Carta was to curb 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. • The Magna Carta demonstrated that the power of the king could be limited by a written grant.
Who wrote the Magna Carta? • The content of the Magna Carta was drafted by Archbishop Stephen Langton and the most powerful Barons of England. (written by the church) • King John signed the document which was originally called the 'Articles of the Barons' on June 10, 1215.
Important Facts about the Magna Carta • Key Dates relating to the event: The Magna Carta was signed by King John on June 10, 1215 • Other names for Magna Carta: It is also referred to as the Magna Charter or the Great Charter • The Magna Carta was signed by King John in a meadow at Runnymede in Egham, Surrey, South England (between Windsor and Staines) • Key People relating to the event: King John of England, Archbishop Stephen Langton and the Barons • The charter is considered to be the beginning of constitutional government in England. The Magna Carta demonstrated that the power of the king could be limited by a written grant.
What events led up to King John being forced into the signing of the Magna Carta? • In 1205 King John quarreled with the Pope Innocent III about who should be archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope wanted a man named Stephen Langton to be archbishop, but King John swore he should never come to England. • In 1209 the pope retaliated, excommunicated King John and banned all church services in all parish churches • King John gave in, and Pope Innocent made the king and people pay him money whenever he demanded it. • Taxes levied by King John were extortionate. His reprisals against defaulters were ruthless and his idea justice was considered avaricious. • In 1212 King John imposes taxes on the Barons in his attempts to regain the lost lands of Aquitaine, Poitou and Anjou.
What events led up to King John being forced into the signing of the Magna Carta? • The Barons and Stephen Langton decided to curb the King and make him govern by the old English laws that had prevailed before the Normans came. The demands of the Barons were documented in the 'Articles of the Barons' in January 1215. • The Barons took up arms against King John and captured London in 1215. • In June the Barons, in full armor, took King John by surprise at Windsor and he agreed to a meeting at Runnymede • King John signed and sealed the document on June 10, 1215 • The barons renewed the Oath of Fealty to King John on June 15, 1215 • The royal chancery produced a formal royal grant, based on the agreements reached at Runnymede, which became known as Magna Carta • Copies of the Magna Carta were distributed to bishops, sheriffs and other important people throughout England
Summary of the Magna Carta • The Church - The Church was to be free from royal interference, especially in the election of bishops • Taxes - No taxes except the regular feudal dues were to be levied, except by the consent of the Great Council, or Parliament • The right to due process which led to Trial by Jury • Weights and Measures - All weights and measures to be kept uniform throughout the realm