What is Magna Carta?

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Magna Carta refers to a document signed between the King of England and his constituents back in 1215.  This particular document stipulated the rights of the English people and gave them protection against possible abuse by their royal rulers.  Also indicated in the Magna Carta were the limitations of the rights of England’s Kings and Queens.  Originally written in Latin, Magna Carta is also known as “Magna Carta Libertatum” or “The Great Charter of the Liberties of England”.

Back in 1215, England was ruled by King John and it was then that he had a disagreement with the Pope regarding the appointment of Canterbury’s archbishop.  This event led the king to wage war and collected various fees and high taxes from his constituents.  The king supposedly needed the money to pay the Pope and hoped that their relationship would improve.  English barons and the common people at the time revolted against the exorbitant fees and taxes imposed by the king and were successful in forcing the king to sign a document indicating all the people’s rights and the limitation thereof of from royal power and abuse.  This document known as the Magna Carta became England’s official basis for the people’s basic rights.

Various stipulations of people’s rights are included in the Magna Carta.  One important provision is for people to have the right to due process.  This particular provision is known as “habeas corpus” and it basically protected people from unlawful punishment or imprisonment.  Fines and taxes were also stipulated to be acceptable between the ruling royal family and their constituents.  England’s king himself is also subject to the supposed law of their land as part of the provisions in the Magna Carta.  This particular document eventually became the basis of many laws regarding the rights of the common people back then and even up to today.  It is considered the first document in history regarding human rights and protection.

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