The Relevance Of Magna Carta In Today's Society
The year 2015 is the first time in 800 year since the writing of the Magna Carta that all four copies of the document will be together for one day of pageantry celebration. This celebration is to commemorate the document, which is seen across Western nations as the one document that symbolizes democracy for all.
The reason for this is because in the early days of government, lands we ruled by kings and within the royal ranks, barons often disputed with rulers who were rewarded their place in the throne over inheriting it. Here we look at what conditions caused the creation of the document and it's relevance today.
The Modern Magna Carta
It's been said quite recently, that since the turn of the century, British government has made some efforts to override the value of the Magna Carta's 39th clause with holding prisoners in Guantanamo Bay as early as prime minister Tony Blair. The new prime minister Cameron has also held his share of the same type of accusations but the fact is that since the creation and enforcement of the document, it's never fully been enforced as it was intended.
Why Was It Created?
As stated earlier, the rule of kings was rewarded rather than inherited for 150 years prior to the year 1215. That was seven Norman kings, who were more French descent than English. The barons were generally given land and other things of value so that they would remain loyal to these kings, which had been going on for a long time. Specifically, in Runnymede in Surrey, England, during the reign of King John, the barons forced him to sign a charter that would limit the power of kings over them.
Hardly Taken Seriously
Since the charter was signed, rulers who followed ignored the document which resulted in wars and eventually became obsolete as well as specific to the protections of the Catholic church and giving tax breaks to the wealthy, which was originally reserved for those medieval barons. To this day it is referred to as a guideline but nothing more, even resulting in silly conspiracies and references to the music industry.
The 800th anniversary which commemorates the document will certainly be one of many celebrations which take place year round for England. And though the occasion is more of a nod to what monarchies have considered a burden, it's history is still intact to preserve real meaning to the Western world.
The Magna Carta Essay
2236 Words9 Pages
The Magna Carta, or 'Great Charter,' has been hailed as a 'sacred text' of liberty in the Western World. It is widely regarded as one of the most important and revered legal documents in history; it is a document that was forced upon English King John by his barons at Runnymedeˡ (Linebaugh 6). It is today the basic foundation of the constitution law of England2 (Sommerville Web). For over seven centuries, the English have eulogized the Magna Carta as not only the foundation of freedom but also their earliest and best protection against arbitrary governmental interference with individual liberty. According to the Guardian Newspaper issue of June 1st, 1956, Lord Alfred Denning during the service commemorating the Magna Carta’s 150th year…show more content…
By the time of the reign of King John, the obligation to serve was conveniently commuted to the payment of cash, with the resulting revenue be utilized for maintaining paid armies. Additionally, feudal custom demanded that barons give in to other exactions such as giving financial levy to the king during the marriage of the eldest daughter and other occasions. What is more, when a baron died, the King could make a host of demands from the baron's heir or family, such as succession duty, assume guardianship of, and profit from, the estate if the heir was a minor, and others (The Text).
Because of the wide scope for abuse and extortion inherent in such a feudal system, where redress was difficult, barons complained of royal abuse, some even mounting rebellions every now and then. This was true even before King John assumed power (Magna Carta). However, it is said that King John suffered fierce resistance or rebellion from the barons because of his 'reckless oppression,' imposition of high taxes, and refusal to listen to the barons (Magna Carta).
That King John faced greater rebelliousness from the barons forcing him to compromise and sign the Magna Carta could also be explained by looking into the circumstances that made his reign more difficult. Barons had a more difficult time—thus making them more rebellious—because of the territorial restrictions that followed England's