Magna Carta | Teen Ink

Magna Carta

October 3, 2013
By OakwoodCat GOLD, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
OakwoodCat GOLD, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
16 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis

The barons charged up the hill in full armour, one of them holding a precious document, for which they were risking their lives. They forced their way to King John, and made him sign it. There were plenty of witnesses, and the barons rode away content, that their rights would be protected. This document was the Magna Carta. It proclaimed that the king had been unfair, and it contained sixty three clauses that would restrain him from doing certain things. This document changed the country of England forever.

Many people have heard of the Magna Carta, but surprisingly few people know what it actually says, or why it was written. In 1215, this document was composed by a group of discontent barons. It’s main principle was freedom: “No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land.” This basically means that they had the right to trial by law before they could be found guilty. In England’s democracy, it was a huge step, a model that represented individual rights for all and a democratic government. Also, it stated that a group of 25 barons could overrule the will of the King. Also, no widow should be forced to marry, as long as she prefered to live without a husband. It had sixty three individual ‘laws’ that they forced KIng John to sign on July 15th, 1215, in the meadow which is called Runnymede. The Magna Carta, which in Latin means ‘the great charter’ was a document that declared rights for the people of England, and began to minimize the absolute power of the king.

But why was the Magna Carta written? King John was abusing his powers as king. The taxes he burdened the people with brought in enormous amounts of money. The taxes were hurting the people of England and the country itself. The King also abused his power by taking away some power from the barons and some of their land. They were tired of their rights being trampled by this man, so they met together, and wrote this document. The document also gave more authority to the church to choose it’s leaders, instead of the king deciding who should be in charge of the church. This document also had many clauses protecting the people’s inheritances, as the king had been cheating many out of their rightful land and money. Many abuses had been piling up on the barons, and they finally decided to act through the Magna Carta.

But the charter caused some problems. Only in effect for a few months initially.. Pope Innocent the Third soon released King John from his oath to obey it, saying it impaired John’s dignity and was forced upon him by violence and fear. As a result, England plunged into a long, terrible civil war, called “The First Baron’s War.”The rebel barons turned to Prince Louis of France, who agreed to help and arrived with troops shortly after. They took over London, and Louis was proclaimed King of England. The baron who had called for Louis slowly turned away, and they fought against him for an English king. The battle raged for over a year, but eventually Louis was unable to continue fighting due to many losses and injuries of his army and himself, so he made peace, renouncing that he had ever been King. John’s son, Henry, became king, and the Magna Carta was reissued, with a couple of clauses omitted. Henry agreed to abide by the charter, and England was satisfied. This charter caused some big problems, but in the end, England was better off.

The Magna Carta affected England in many different ways. First of all, it started a war, which led to many deaths. But it also resulted in more rights for the people, and less power for the king, a huge step for the country. It showed that the barons cared about the people and their rights, and that the people should be treated fairly and with respect. Before this charter, the KIng was above the law, but now the King was restricted to follow the law. This totally changed the way England was ruled.

England would be different today if they still had kings who could overrule anyone. They believed that such power in one man’s hand can be disastrous. With modern technology and weapons today, power might be dangerous, which is why the Magna Carta is so important.Without it, King John would have continued to have control over his people. They would have suffered a huge financial crisis, which would greatly weaken the kingdom itself. England, and the entire world would be extremely different if we still had kings, and the Magna Carta played an big role in minimizing the king’s power.

This document was a huge turning point in England’s government. It’s main message was: Less power for the king. They wanted this because they felt that the king was abusing his power, hurting and cheating people in the process. The Magna Carta inspired other constitutional documents which came later, including the United States Constitution. It has been named ‘the greatest constitutional document of all time’. It promoted freedom of religion, fair trials, and lower taxes. England’s government is different today because of the Magna Carta.

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