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Magna Carta

Magna Carta is a Latin word for Great Charter. It is also known as the Magna Carta Libertatum. It refers to an Angevin charter that was issued in Latin originally. King John sealed the charter under oath at Runnymede on River Thames’ bank near Windsor on 15th June 1215 in England.

Magna Carta was a first document that a group of the subjects of King of England imposed upon him. This group was made of the feudal barons and they imposed the document upon their king as an attempt to reduce his powers using a law and to protect their rights.

This charter is popularly known across the English speaking countries as one of the most important aspects of protracted process in history that led to the introduction of constitutional law ruling in England and other parts of the world. According to Magna Carta, King John was to proclaim some liberties as well as accept his will as the king was not always arbitrary.

For instance, through explicit acceptance that freemen could not be punished but only via the law of the land, whichImage 2 is a right existing even today in the English law, King John accepted that his will as the king was not always arbitrary. The council of Anglo-Saxon Kings was also held at Runnymede on several occasions in between 7th century and 11th century. This was during Alfred the Great reign. This council often met in open air.

The succeeding council versions influenced creation of the 13th century parliament of England. The most likely location and time when King John sealed Magna Carta are Water-meadow at Runnymede and 15th June 1215 respectively. This location remains the site of Magna Carta Memorial. There is also a possibility that the opposite bank if River Thames, the Magna Carta Island was the location where the charter was sealed. Nevertheless, the charter indicates that Runnymede is the site.

The common constitutional law was influenced by Magna Carta. The charter also influenced political representation as well as establishment of the England’s parliament. The association of the charter with democracy ideals, freedom and equality as well as power limitation under law has drawn attraction and placement of commemorative symbols and monuments at Runnymede.

The charter was directly influenced and preceded by Charter of Liberties of 1100. In this charter, King Henry I specified certain areas in which his powers could be limited. Additionally, Magna Carta played a significant role in America’s colonization because the legal system of England was used in developing legal systems of most colonies.

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Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Carta

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/magna_carta.htm

http://www.britannia.com/history/docs/magna2.html

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