Saturday 25 March 2017

Breif History of Magna Carta - Study Notes

Breif History of Magna Carta - Study Notes

The first champion of popular right in England was the sainted Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, himself, however of Norman lineage, who led the first combination against the Plantagenet tyranny, and who in consequence was basely assassinated by the contrivance of the monarch,. Henry II (A.D.1170). He has been characterized as an ambitious churchman, solicitous only to advance his own personal interest and the interest of the Church, by ignorant men who had only a superficial knowledge of the history of the time.
Thomas a Becket was an honest, upright, heroic champion of Anglo-Saxon right and the sacred cause of humanity against the ablest and probably the most unscrupulous monarch of the Angevin, or Plantagenet race. He was not more a martyr of religion than he was of freedom and justice.
Thomas a Becket found a worthy successor in Stephen Langton, also Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of England and Cardinal of the Roman Church. In his time, in the reign Of King John, who has usually been designated as the weakest and the worst of the Plantagenet race although it is not very apparent that, though he may have been weaker, he was any worse than his unprincipled father Henry II, or his equally unprincipled brother Richard Coeur de Lion - the aggression of the monarch became intolerable, and the barons and the clergy and the forces of the city of London combined to resist them.
The combination culminated on that famous day at Runnymede (A.D. 1215), when Langton, ably assisted by Pandolfo, the Papal Legate in England, and by all the archbishops and bishops of England, and by a large body of the barons, constrained King John to sign the Magna Charta, or Great Charter, ordinarily and perhaps not without justice assumed to be the foundation of English freedom. Stephen Langton, who was undoubtedly the author of the document, had the degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Bologna, and was therefore a doctor of the Roman Civil Law. From this source, and not from English Feudalism, he derived his inspiration.
The Magna Charta, as usually given, contains 38 articles with the Charter of the Forests included, 63 articles. Of these many have become obsolete, having passed away with the Feudal System, the abuses of which they were intended to remedy. Only three can be regarded as of paramount and permanent importance. These were:
(a) That the Church should be free
(b) That the city of London and all the’ other cities and boroughs of the kingdom should enjoy their ancient rights and privileges unimpaired;
(C) That no freeman should be deprived of life, liberty or property, except by the legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

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