Q:

Why did King John sign the Magna Carta?

A:

Quick Answer

King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in June of 1215 by the Barons, who had taken over London and nearly captured the king at Windsor in retaliation for the heavy taxes imposed on them. Even after signing the final version of the document that would become the Magna Carta at Runnymede, King John had no intention of adhering to the agreement, which led to the Baron's War.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

The king imposed the exorbitant taxes on the Barons and the English people to pay to Pope Innocent III as recompense for retaliating against the Pope's choice for archbishop of Canterbury and to fund expeditions to attempt to regain the lost territories of Aquitaine, Poitou and Anjou. The Barons did not agree with the ruthless way that the king ruled. In an attempt to bring the king under control, the Barons drew up a list of their demands known as the Articles of the Barons in January of 1215. The Barons then began to fight the king with physical force, capturing London in May and forcing the king to agree to the meeting at Runnymede in June. Once the Magna Carta was signed, the Barons renewed the Oath of Fealty to the king. Copies of the Magna Carta were distributed to bishops, sheriffs and other nobles in England.

Learn more about Modern Europe

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why was the Magna Carta so important?

    A:

    The Magna Carta (which is Latin for Great Paper, or Great Charter) was so important because it effectively forced the reigning monarch to grant his English subjects rights. It laid the foundations for Parliament and constitutional governments.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    In which language was the Magna Carta written?

    A:

    The Magna Carta was written in medieval Latin. Although most of the charter is not pertinent to modern times, it guarantees an individual's right to due process, requiring that certain legal procedures must be followed.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why did China cancel the Magna Carta's display?

    A:

    China cancelled the display of the Magna Carta at one of Beijing's top universities because the Chinese Communist Party found the contents in the document in conflict with their beliefs. Written and signed by King John of England in 1215, the document limits the power of the king and emphasizes that the common people should have more rights.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What rights did the Magna Carta protect?

    A:

    The Magna Carta, first written on June 15, 1215, protected basic human rights including freedom from excessive government control and property. The Magna Carta was written by barons protesting ill treatment endured under the reign of King John. The barons failed to achieve change in the feudal system of England, but raised important social and political issues championed later by English citizens.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore