Magna Carta: The Beginning of the Rule of Law

What is magna carta? Why was this document needed? What is its significance in world history?

What is Magna Carta?

The Magna Carta is a document guaranteeing English political liberties and signed by King John under pressure from his rebellious barons. It means Great Charter in Latin. This document set forth for the first time the principle that everyone, including the king, is subject to the law.

In other words, it is the first step in the process to constitutional rule of law.

Origin of the Magna Carta

From 1199, the English Kingdom became the most powerful monarchy Europe had ever seen. Then John was enthroned as king of England following the death of King Richard the Lion-Hearted. Unfortunately, King John was seen as a failure for many reasons. One of these reasons was that after the King of France seized the English lands, the English barons wanted these lands to be taken back. Another reason was the way King John came to the throne.

By 1215 the English barons could no longer stand this situation. And they raided London. They forced King John to accept the treaty. On June 15, 1215, King John put his seal on this treaty. Thus, the world’s first constitution, the magna carta, emerged.

Was Magna Carta Effective in the Short Term?

King John declared that he did not recognize the treaty after the Barons left London. Then he dragged England into civil war. When King John died of dysentery during the civil war, heir to the throne was 9-year-old Henry III. After the war ended, the Magna Carta was re-signed with some adjustments.

Does the Magna Carta Still Exist?

Unfortunately, the original Magna Carta signed by King John has not survived. However, some copies still exist. These copies are exhibited in England. One of them is in Lincoln Cathedral, one is in Salisbury Cathedral and two are in the British Museum.

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