The Magna Carta and the emergence of the English Parliament

The Magna Carta and the emergence of the English Parliament

King John, as a result of the unsuccessful war for England with Philip II August, lost in France most of the patrimonial possessions of the Plantagenets. Therefore, contemporaries called John a derogatory nickname Landless. Military defeat, the constant extortion of “shield money” caused the subjects genuine hatred for the king.

The situation was aggravated by the conflict with Pope Innocent III. John the Landless refused to support the pope’s candidate for the post of archbishop of Canterbury, for which the pope excommunicated John Landless from the church, and the king was in danger of losing the throne. The Pope was supported by almost the entire population of England.

The embroiled king recognized himself as a vassal of the pope and undertook to pay him

a large sum of money every year.

All this aroused indignation of the people, who supported the rebellion of the barons in 1215. Even in London, the barons entered without a fight. John had no choice but to capitulate. In obedience to the force, on June 15, 1215, he signed a document prepared by the barons, entitled “Magna Carta”.

The articles of the charter guaranteed the inviolability of the possessions of the barons and the church. The king pledged not to charge more than his established vassals, not to impose excessive fines, to care for trade, to promise protection against the willfulness of royal officials, to confirm the inviolability of city privileges, and so on.

1215. From the Magna Carta

12. No shield money, nor any other assistance should be collected in our kingdom except by the consent of the general council of our kingdom…

14. And in order to have the general advice of the kingdom when taxing with monetary aid… or for taxing with shielded money, we will order the archbishops, bishops, abbots, counts and senior barons to write each of our letters separately…

39. No free man will be arrested or imprisoned, or deprived of property, or outlawed, or expelled, or somehow disinherited… otherwise, on the basis of a legal sentence equal to him… and

for the law of the country.

61. We create and give… a guarantee, namely: that the barons choose twenty-five barons from the kingdom whom they want, must with all their might adhere to and protect and compel to adhere to peace and liberties, what we gave them and confirmed this present charter.. And when we, or one of our servants, in something and against someone else, or some of the articles… break… those twenty-five barons… will… pursue us in all ways, which only can, that is, by capturing castles, lands, possession… until it is corrected according to their decision…

“The Magna Carta” was the first document in the world to proclaim the principle of the inviolability of the individual – the basis of human and citizen rights.

However, John the Landless was not going to carry out the Great Magna Carta imposed on him and resumed the war with the barons. In the midst of the fighting, John the Landless died. King was proclaimed his young son Henry III and all power passed into the hands of the barons.

When Henry III came of age and began to rule on his own, he would continue his father’s policy. This caused the mutiny of the English barons and in 1258, as a result of which Henry III was removed from power. This confrontation resulted in a civil war. Count of Simon de Montfort stood out among the barons. The army commanded by him routed the royal detachments. Henry III and Prince Edward, heir to the throne, were taken prisoner. The ruler of England was Simon de Montfort. In January 1265 he convened a meeting of the kingdom. Here, in addition to barons and bishops, representatives from chivalry and townspeople were also invited. So there was the English Parliament.

Soon, Prince Edward managed to escape from captivity, headed the royal army and defeated the army of Simon de Montfort. Montfort himself was killed.

After regaining power, Henry III, and, consequently, his heir Edward did not destroy the parliament, and he continued to act. First, the main function of the parliament was to approve taxes. Subsequently, he also received the right to legislate. In the middle of the XIV century. Parliament split into two chambers of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. In the House of Lords, the higher clergy and the secular nobility sat. And in the House of Commons – knights of counties and representatives of cities. Here, at once, there was an alliance of chivalry and the city top. In the English parliament, unlike the French General States, the representatives of these two classes operated together. Therefore, the House of Commons had a huge influence on the political life of England. With the emergence of the Parliament in England, a new form of the feudal state arose a class monarchy.

By the XIV century. in England there was no single national language. The Normans communicated in French. This language has long been considered official. He was spoken by nobles, conducted legal proceedings and taught in schools. Knowledge of French was an indicator of education and belonging to the highest world. Small feudal lords, townspeople and peasants spoke different dialects of the Anglo-Saxon language. And only in the middle of the XIV century. On the basis of the London dialect English literary language begins to be formed. In the year 1362. he first spoke at a meeting of the parliament. Then the parliament decided to use it in the courts.

Charter – in the Middle Ages a document certifying certain rights or privileges.

Parliament is an elected legislative body in the state.


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The Magna Carta and the emergence of the English Parliament