What does Magna Carta mean?
The Magna Carta is an English charter that was signed into law by King John on June 15, 1215. Some of the best-known concepts outlined in the Magna Carta include making the monarch subject to the rule of law, basic rights held by citizens (or “free men”), and the social contract between ruler and subjects.
Examples of Magna Carta
Where does Magna Carta come from?
In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, King John of England drew the ire of many English nobility with a series of unpopular military decisions and aggressive taxation. Led by Baron Robert Fitzwalter, the barons and other nobles under John’s rule rebelled. In order to avoid civil war, King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta, which was written by the barons.
The document mostly dealt with the barons’ property rights and the monarch’s accountability to law, neglecting the poorer population. However, in subsequent centuries, the document was revised to include other clauses that granted more rights to the general populace, including the right of habeas corpus (the right to a trial by judge and jury before being imprisoned) and the right to a speedy trial.
This document and the precedent it set served as the foundation for many forms of law created post-Enlightenment, including the American Constitution and the French post-revolutionary government. Today, the Magna Carta is considered an important milestone in the development of civil rights and the people’s power in a government.
This is not meant to be a formal definition of Magna Carta like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Magna Carta that will help our users expand their word mastery.