The Magna Carta: a Document that Changed the World

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The Magna Carta: a Document that Changed the World


The Magna Carta was probably the single most important document in the creation of the modern world as we know it today. The document was not intended to have any lasting authority, and King John I did not mean for it to have any effect whatsoever on his power over England, but when he signed the Magna Carta in June of 1215 CE, he sentenced traditional monarchy and his own governing style to death. Along with restricting John's own powers as king, the Magna Carta sparked a reformation of the idea of government and its role that continues to sweep across the globe even today. The Magna Carta is historically significant because it introduced the rule of law, and idea that has been adopted around the world, to England, ensuring the permanent restriction of a ruler's power and guaranteeing rights to the citizens of the state.

After William I conquered England in 1066 CE, he effectively ended the slave trade and replaced it with feudalism, a socioeconomic system that reinforces a political and economic hierarchy and limits the rights of the lower classes, namely, the tenant farmers (Swindler, 1968). Almost a century and a half later, in the late 1100s, the lords won a victory in court of law allowing them to intensify England's feudal system by amending serfdom to it. This decision was widely disliked by members of the lower classes, and was even considered a modern form of slavery at the time, as serfdom greatly limited the rights of people in the lower classes even further. In addition to the unpopular refinement of this economic system, a new law was implemented by the king's judges that banned all serfs, who already had very few rights under serfdom and...