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First Essay of the School Year
August 20, 2008, 6:16 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

King John reigned as king of England from 1199 to 1216. He was despised by his subjects for his injustice towards them. They had reason to hate him, for though they were punished harshly if they did not follow the law, he was above the law in his own mind. The evil king is said to have murdered his nephew with his own hands, a crime for which he should have been severely punished. However, he was not prosecuted in the least. As well, King John taxed his subjects unfairly, causing many of them to starve. He grew more and more wealthy by stealing from the dying commoners. Finally, John imprisoned those who he thought deserved it, without even giving them the right to a fair trial by jury.

The actions of King John were the direct cause of the writing of the Magna Carta. All of the provisions in the historic document were responses to specific injustices of the king. For example, the Magna Carta stated that the king could not collect new taxes without the agreement of the barons and the bishops. This was the effect of John’s harsh taxing of the people. Also, it was written in the Magna Carta that no man could be put in prison without a proper trial with a jury. John’s unfair imprisonment of people brought about this provision in the Magna Carta. Another section in the Magna Carta said that the king would be subject to all laws, a response to King John’s belief that he was above all laws. Lastly, the Magna Carta also provided for the separation of Church and State. Since John’s officials had attempted interfere with religious officials and ceremonies, it is clear that this section of the Magna Carta was written with this fact in mind.

The Magna Carta contains many important themes and ideas, many of which would be significant for the future of both Europe and North America. One of the main points in the Magna Carta is that the king must be under the law. This is an idea still found in Europe and America today. This document also prohibits the king from taxing the people unjustly, one of the main theme in the Declaration of Independence. The Magna Carta gives people the right to a fair trial by jury. This system is still used in the Europe and the United States today. The Bill of Rights, which give the people of the United States many liberties, contains many ideas first seen in the Magna Carta. Samuel Adams, one of America’s founding fathers, mentioned the Magna Carta and its importance in the Boston Gazette in 1769.

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1 Comment so far
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The Magna Carta did have some side benefits for the people, but it was fundamentally the lords of the land attempting to throw off their responsibility to pay their land rents.

Comment by Henry




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