King John’s Abdication of Power and Death in Medieval England

King John has gone down in history as one of the very worst kings ever to sit on the English throne, both for his character and his failures. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction King John of England (aka John Lackland) ruled from 1199 to 1216 CE. The son of Henry II of England (r. 1154-1189 CE)[…]

Consequences of Magna Carta

Considering the Civil War, the re-issue of the charter and the formation of early forms of parliament. Introduction The agreement at Runnymede in 1215 had broad consequences for medieval England. The charter agreed at Runnymede was intended merely as the beginning of a process of reform, not an end in itself. Magna Carta’s first purpose[…]

Why Magna Carta Still Matters Today

Exploring the evolution of our rights and freedoms and the relevance of the Great Charter today. Introduction Magna Carta is a cornerstone of the individual liberties that we enjoy, and it presents an ongoing challenge to arbitrary rule. But over time, while not envisaged at the time of its drafting, Magna Carta has for many[…]

Magna Carta and Jury Trial

The history of jury trials and their relationship to Magna Carta. Introduction From medieval justice to the trial of Charles I, and the trials of John Lilburne to the Human Rights Act, discover the evolution of one of the most venerated features of Anglo-American law. Trial by jury is the most venerated and venerable institution[…]

Magna Carta in Context

How Magna Carta was both influenced by, and impacted upon, the institutions and customs of its day. Introduction From the medieval Church to money-lending, feudal rights to the royal forest, discover how Magna Carta was both influenced by, and impacted upon, the institutions and customs of its day. Despite the enduring legacy of Magna Carta and[…]

Magna Carta: Neutering a King at Runnymede in 1215

During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. “The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history . . . It was written in Magna Carta.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941 Inaugural address Introduction On June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his[…]

Magna Carta and John’s Kingship

When Magna Carta was created, England had endured 16 years of John’s kingship – a rule based largely on extortion, legal chicanery, blackmail and violence. Introduction ‘It is not for the king’s subjects to question or condemn his actions.’ This was the opinion of one of the most learned royal administrators in the age of[…]