Philosophy / Magna Carta
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Autor: anton 29 October 2010
Words: 695 | Pages: 3
Magna Carta: Witness to Feudal Crisis
Q#1 various circumstances that challenged the possibility of Feudalism as a viable social system, as one in which the good of everyone could be met.
Feudalism is the social system in medieval Europe whereby a vessel held land from a superior in exchange for allegiance and services. The most important problem that this system showed was the social order of it. In that time, people believed that your position in society (or order) was a gift of God. Furthermore, you stay in your social order for the rest of your life; creating very marked differences between the "superior" social positions. William the conqueror was the only owner of all the land making him the most powerful person in the land; and he "rented" the land to Norman Barons which rented it to knight and lesser nobles in order to get protection. At the lowest position of social status was the peasants and serfs, they did not have much rights. In addition of the hierarchal social differences, the king ruled with lawless tyranny. The Barons, which were mainly Norman, had to do everything the king said in order to preserve their lands.
The lands managed by the Barons were passed through the next Barons' generation, so the Barons' families always ruled the land.
William II ruled with tyranny and one of his deeds was that he accepted bribes from people to evade justice. It shows the extreme power that the king had because of the hierarchical feudal society. He also created stronger laws for the royal forests, where he hunted. He was murdered on this forest. Not many people liked him.
Henry I tried to put an end to the lawless times of William I and William II. The proclamation of the people was created by him, in this proclamation he promised to observe people's rights, trying to help the lowest order in society from the oppression created by the superiors' ranks of society.
Henry II imposed a common law on the society. This change was very unpleasant to the church, because most of the trials were ruled by them. The priests and the nobles were bounded by the laws, making everybody liable for their actions. He also changed the military services of the Barons to payments. He preferred to fight any combat with a militia composed by peasants. I think the imposition of common law made a huge contribution for the creation of the Magna Carta because the next king did not follow Henry II ideas and started to be a lawless king, at the end people made him sign this Magna Carta that looks pretty much as a constitution for the high ranks of society, but trying to help to minor classes as well.
Q#2 Understanding of society and relationship between the members of society
This question has been partly answered on the first question. Society was controlled by the high ranks, which believed were so because of God's will. They had supreme authority over the lower ranks of society. The king had absolutely all the power to do whatever he wanted and the rights of the Barons were usually disregarded. The problems came when the Barons died, his son had to pay some fines and if he was underage the king or someone else could be in charge of the land, until the Barons' sons were over age, and destroyed it if they wanted.
The church also suffered greatly because the king did not let the archbishops have the authority over the church. Anything they wanted to do had to have the permission of the king. It did not matter the affair of it.
Q#3 Long term meaning of the Magna Carta.
I believe that the most important meaning of the Magna Carta is that created a set of rules that the people will enforce not only towards the people, but also towards the authorities On the long term this will create the constitution (on the Americas), a parliament on England and a new type of government, which allows people to choose their authorities.
The Magna Carta created a more formal and common law through England, and maybe created the first social structures and rules.
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