Magna Carta

(1215)

In June 1215 a group of English barons forced King John of England to accept the sixty-three provisions of the Magna Carta (“Great Charter”) at Runnymede, England. The Magna Carta was not originally intended to secure rights for all English citizens. Rather, it was meant to assert the feudal rights of England's barons, who had become disenchanted with King John's rule. Soon after it was signed, John ignored the tenets of the charter and began warring with his barons again. Despite the motivations of the authors and signers, the document contains political principles that remain...

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Portrait of King John (Yale University Art Gallery)

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