The Impact of the Magna Carta

2015 is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta’s creation. Morley tutor Ian Stone discusses its impact.

On a balmy summer’s day 800 years ago King John conceded that ‘no free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land’.

So runs the most celebrated clause of the most famous and influential document in western legal and historical tradition.  2015 is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta’s creation, when King John was forced to concede rights and liberties such as these to his subjects, and this year is going to see special events, exhibitions and commemorations to mark the anniversary across the globe.
 
Magna Carta has shaped the history of Britain, its former empire and commonwealth; and to this day it underpins fundamental notions of freedom and equality before the law across the globe.  It is witnessed in the fifth amendment to the American Constitution (no-one shall ‘be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation’) and article six of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law’).
 
The society which produced Magna Carta could never have dreamt that its impact would be so profound.  At Morley College, for the first time ever, we have introduced a unique course for students who want to learn more about the history of medieval Britain, and its enduring legacy.  Come and join us as the eyes of the world once more focus on this fascinating period.

2015 is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta’s creation. Morley tutor Ian Stone discusses its impact.


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