Monday, March 10, 2008

Magna Carta and the 500 Year Impact

“History is a series of temporary solutions and unanticipated consequences.”

This theme really hits home when discussing the history of the Magna Carta. Through the actions of Edward Coke, this document, which was created to simply stave off a war between the upper class and the kind in England in 1215, became the beacon for men and groups seeking to create a system that was sympathetic to the rights of every citizen.

The Magna Carta was the temporary solution-a peace treaty, if you will-that attempted to solve the crisis in England between the king and barons in England. The barons were not interested in paying the ridiculous taxes the king was proposing, and the king was not powerful enough to force them to do so. In an effort to prevent a civil war, the Magna Carta was designed to limit the king’s power under a series of rules, and after it failed to really prevent a Civil War after John’s death, was forgotten by the majority of the English for the next 500 years (even though it was renewed by the king in each successive charter).

It wasn’t until Edward Coke was looking for a way to counter the oppression of the king in 1628 that the true power of the Magna Carta was realized. In reinterpreting the document, he opened up the “rule of law” to every freeman in England, and set the precedent for later generations (especially the American colonists) to take the concept of “rights under the law” even further.

So even though the temporary solution presented by the creation of the Magna Carta had little direct impact based upon its intended consequences, but the unanticipated consequences that resulted almost 500 years later made this document one of the most significant legal/human rights documents of all time. You’d be surprised at how much of history is made up of the unanticipated consequences of temporary solutions.

22 comments:

Metal Farmer Apprentice said...

Umm, I don't think i am going to be the first person to state their opinion this time, i will leave it to a new commer, so in return i can bash on them =)


-Cole

josh "metal farming isnt real" milgrom said...

ok cole, ill give it a shot, for one the magna carta is very beastly to say the least. as we all know it was indeed the first code of law ever that said that the king was subject to the common law just as his citizens were, and he could not go above it. i like this because basically it is saying that the king is screwing up society by abusing his power and going above the law, and he needs to be stopped by subjecting him to the law and punsihing him if he commits a crime. there is also the fact that some citizens look up to their leaders as they view them as role models. well what kind of role model is a king if he doesnt even follow the law? what kind of messed up example is he setting there? the king is basically saying "oh, im the king, i can do whatever the hell i want and no one cand do anything to stop me." well eventually people are going to start following this attitude that the king has set forth of basically saying the law does not apply to me. so people will begin to break the law and making the excuse of syaing, "hey the king does it, so why cant I? so then your whole society is going to collapse all because a lousy leader was to lazy to follow the law and loved his power to much. As i quote jimi hendrix, "when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." Well right here Jimi is trying to say that people are so fed up with power, that they basically ruin society with it. And the kings around this time that the magna crat was created were abusing their power constantly and persecuting people so they themselves could stay in power. well the magna carta is designed to fix all of this through making sure that the king is subject completley to the law, and if he committs a crime, he is to be punsihed accordingly just as any regular citizen should be.

Rafael said...
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Julian said...

Personally I think the Magna carta was great because it subjected the king to the fact that he is not the sun. The sun for instance keeps us warm and alive and if we pissed it off (if it had a personality) it could leave and we would die instantaneously however if king John left things would suck for a while but the world wouldn't come to an end but john likes to think that he if he did leave everyone would die.

Cole "The return of the" Slaw said...

Okay, well to comment on this topic, i also believe that the magna carta was a revolutionary document to a great level. However josh, it might not have been the first laws to subject the king to be able to not disobey them. I reread the laws of manu just a second ago and it too includes the throne, however the amount of times it appears is little, but still it is there. and i guess it is more so human rights. But I agree with both josh and cary. The Magna carta did not let the king overpower his laws and take advantage of them. With him being subject to these laws he couldn't continue to break laws and screw over the upper class. However, i don't think he could go stir crazy with the power because of the chance of revolting. Anyway, he could be a step above the laws. Instead the MAgna carta came in and said i am the boss of you. Which might have been a big change but still the correct way to do things. As for cary's comment i agree, the people don't look up to the king mostly, they just work under him, in his civilization. He was born into kingdom it was not like they chose him to be in there, so it doesn't necessarily mean they liked him. Quickly to comment on the quote you posted, i think it is a very sweet and touching quote however it doesn't really apply to this case. It is not completley irrelevent because, well he is saying without this that maybe the king would use his power to want to rule things and being above the law helps, but i don't think that was the motto of the magna carta, it was more so, yo king, you abide by these rules, you are not screwing over the law anymore. Simple.

Rafael said...
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Josh "Jason is overrated at life" milgrom said...

ok cole, we'll take it, but if you look at the laws of manu, they are not really concerned with punishing people, but rewarding them for not breaking the law. if the law of manu is looked at closely it can be seen that it does not really include any really big punishments for committing crimes. i mean for one of the clauses, it said that if a judge were to intentionally give the wrong ruling in a case, then he shall be left to live with the guilt. ok what the hell is this? what are we in first grade where if you do something bad you have to go sit in timeout and feel guilty for what you have done? NO, this is big boy time here, if you commit a crime you deserved to be given and adequete punishment such as death or jail time, not sit in timeout for five minutes and feel guilty for what you have done. yes, cole your right in the sense that manu does talk about subjecting the king ot the law, BUT WHAT THE HELL LAW IS THERE IF YOU PUNISH PEOPLE BY PUTTING THEM IN TIMEOUT IN THE CORNER FOR FIVE MINUTES? What the heck is that going to do? Is a king who borke the law honestly going to say, "oh i better not break the law again, i'm so sad and lonely in that corner,"? Of course he is not, he is going to continue breaking the law becaus ehis punishment is not harsh enough. Isnt that the point of punishments though?, to be harsh in hopes that a person will never commit a crime again? YES THAT IS WHAT LAW IS SUPPOSED TO BE, NOT SIT IN THE CORNER FOR FIVE MINUTES AND FELL GUILTY FOR THROWING A HOT WHEELS CAR AT LITTLE JOEY. Basically, the laws of manu suck, and the magna carta rules becuase it actually would punish the king if he broke the lwa, NOT PUT HIM IN TIMEOUT.

P.S. Cole ur a beats, now lets go bash jason hahahahahaha

Rafael said...

If Laws of Manu sucked, why did it last 500 years and Magna Carta last about 1 year.

josh "miami is an 8th seed" milgrom said...

uhh cary, ive gotta say i cant agree wit u here. for one yes at first the magna carta only lasted one year, but after Sir Edward Coke reinterpreted it it began to thrive and many other codes of law and constituions began to incoroportae this idea of subjecting the ruler to the full extent of the law into them. So cary, of course the actual magna carta is pretty much dead so i agree wit u there, but the basic idea of the magna carta has lived on for centuries and is present in almost all law codes and constitutions. If you look at nixon and watergate, well he was a clear suspect and he was going to go on trial. hmmm....... isnt he the president of the united states hmmmmm...... isnt he going to go on trial oh yes dats it the magna carta clearly has influence here because nixon is being subject to the full extent of the law. so the magna carta lives on today in the sense that its basic idea of subjecting rulers to the law is commonly seen throughout the world.

Coleslawsnoff said...

No josh i totally agree, i was simply just saying that in the laws of manu they include the throne, i was justing saying it might not of been the first...Besides that love i agree wasn't necessarily a vital part however, you must join hands and make a love train haha but you are completely right love was not the bases for the government

Rafael said...

I agree that the Magna Carta gave the framework of democracy and established the notion the EVERYONE, including the king, should be subjected to law. However Nixon is kind of different. Let's say that the Magna Carta was never written, Nixon is king, and Watergate happens. I think that even if he could slip past the law, the people would still catch up, Nixon would have pissed off A LOT of people in Watergate scandal, including other high ranking officials (judges and stuff.) Some intervention would have happened like John and the barons. Also the people would probably try to overthrow/lynch him considering the magna carta wasnt written.

Jeff "How can a tutor hinder his own students test scores" Cicurel said...
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Jeff "How can a tutor hinder his own students test scores" Cicurel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff "How can a tutor hinder his students scores" Cicurel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff "How can a tutor hinder his pupils scores" Cicurel said...

Cary Confiano your “the Magna Carta only lasted one year quote” is the most controversial thing ive seen since Jason “I’m am Jonny’s tutor” Gibbons forgot to do his Spanish homework. I agree with Josh come on man, the Magna Carta may be physically dead but its ideas have lived on forever. America’s treasured constitution borrows a number of ideas from this so called “dead” Magna Carta. Just because something is not being actively used does not mean that it is completely dead! The last homework that we did, the Declaration of the Rights of Man appeared. This declaration is not nearly active in the same way that it was first made, but it influenced hundreds of later documents including America’s treasured Bill of Rights. In closing, just because something is physically dead does not mean that it does not somehow live on forever. I love you Josh, BULLS BEAT THE JAZZ.--- on a more serious note: Who disagrees with me?

Rafael said...

Jeff, I agree 100% about the Magna Carta and its influence, I said that controversial thing to defend the manu . Josh said, "Basically, the laws of manu suck, and the magna carta rules becuase it actually would punish the king if he broke the lwa, NOT PUT HIM IN TIMEOUT." That is ridiculous, Laws of Manu were a major advancement, although its influence did not prevail as the carta did, it had a good run (500 years).

Jeff "Jason cant make good comments" Cicurel said...

Ok Cary I see you. Agreed the laws of Manu were a huge advancement in society but it has little to do with how long they lasted, and it has more to do with the text in the laws. I'm ready to get some stuff about the West and East in human rights so we can get another debate going. Lets see it Mr. Moran.

josh "jason cant tutor jonny" milgrom said...

yes cary, but the laws of manuy didnt have enough punishment to really prevent a person, in this case a king, from committing a crime again. the laws of manu didnt punish people enough, and focused on rewarding them. the magna carta gave adequete punishment based on the common law of the time, and of course the common law of enlgand does not include PUT TOMMY IN A TIMEOUT FOR FIVE MINUTES, but it basically says if tommy does something wrong, he will punished hasrhly. the laws of manu were not harsh enough to prevent people from committing crimes.

Metal Farmer said...

TO ALL PEOPLE BUT CARY,

1. Since when has it become a game to bash me? Im trying to read these posts, and i keep seeing all this nasty stuff. Wana explain?

2. Just to silence Josh once and for all lets discuss Manu. You obviously don't understand it Josh. You are too used to having a strict and secular law system that your brain has shut off to anything else.
Think about the Laws of Manu.
These laws were religious.
If you broke the law, then you broke your bond between God.
So not only does everyone else in your society shame you, but you are screwed with God. I would say that this is worse than death to people who were really religious.

3. Kings make the law for the people to follow. however, many fail to stop and think about themselves. At this time, John had a lot on his plate just trying to keep his society living, and he needed unlimited power to help do so. This is probably why the Magna Carta initially failed.

4. When discussing a topic, instead of using your own morals to judge something use the morals of the people at the time, or else you will never learn.

METAL FARMER

josh "metal farming is a MYTH" milgrom said...

jason im just trying to make the point that the laws of mau definitley worked for the society of manu itself, but these laws would not work for anyother society as all the other law codes that came after manu did not include any ideas or aspects of it. If you look at the magna carta though you will see that it is obviously much more popular as most law codes that have come after it have incorporated its basic idea of subjecting a ruler's power to the law and the voice of the people. this is the basic point im trying to make, that most people take the magan carta as a much more revolutionary document in history than the laws of manu.

-sry jase, but i cant stop bashing u

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