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The Magna Carta

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:29 AM
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The effects of the Magna Carta on the development of Modern Civilization.   The Magna Carta is on of the most famous and most important documents ever written.   It is a phrase written in Latin, and it means GREAT CHARTER.   The Magna Carta granted liberties to Englishmen under the rule of King John, in 1215.   John signed it under the threat of civil war and reissued it with alterations in 1216, 1217 and 1225.   Our own national and state constitutions show ideas and even phrases directly traceable to the Magna Carta.

Though people of the time may not have understood it’s power, early in it’s history it became a symbol and a battle cry against oppression.   In England, the Petition of Right in 1628 and the Habeas Corpus Act in 1679 looked directly at clause 39 of the Magna Carta, which stated :

“No free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised, neither will we attack him or send anyone to attack him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

Earlier “Magna Cartas”

Though earlier kings of England, such as Henry I, Stephen, and Henry II, had issued charters that also made promises or concessions to their subjects, these charters were very generally phrased and the promises were granted by, not exacted from, the king.

In order to understand how civilization was affected by the Magna Carta, we first have to understand how the Magna Carta was affected by civilization.   What I mean by this is that certain aspects of life effected the content of the Magna Carta.   For example, obviously, no clause was necessary for, like modern times, constrict campaign spending, because that was not an issue in thirteenth-century England.   All great documents are affected by the contemporary times in which they are written.

John, King of England



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