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What Brought About the Signing of the Magna Carta and What Does This Tell Us About the Leadership of King John?

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Introduction

´╗┐What Brought About the Signing of the Magna Carta and What Does This Tell Us About the Leadership of King John? When John became king he inherited a large empire. His power stretched from the edge of Scotland to the south of France. It included all of England and much of France, and was known as the Angevin Empire. However this huge empire was not automatically his. To take possession of the French par of the Empire, he had to promise to serve the King of France. The current King of France and the French barons did not want John as king. They wanted his nephew Arthur. Back in England, John was better placed. He had the good will of the barons. They all agreed he was the right person to be the new king. However, John?s brother Richard had left some big problems for John to sort out. He wad spent much of his reign fighting Crusades. ...read more.

Middle

He lost control of Aquitaine and lost the region of Norway. John spent most of his reign trying to win back these French lands. John raised a tax called scutage. This was a tax raised by the King when he wanted. Barons would have to provide a certain amount of armed nights of the equivalent amount in money depending on the size of their land. John asked the barons for six times more Scutage than the last two Kings put together. This was not against the law, but it greatly annoyed the barons. He also put Relief tax up. Relief was a tax played for by the Baron?s sons where they played a kind of ?inheritance tax?. He also sold important positions at court to the highest bidder, ignoring advice, and even to foreigners. To enforce these taxes, King John ?invited? the Baron?s sons to Court. They would not come home if the Barons did not pay their taxes. ...read more.

Conclusion

They decided they needed a charter, agreed by the king that would secure their rights and would control the king. They sent soldiers to occupy London and John was forced to negotiate. On 19th June 1215, at Runnymede near Windsor, Magna Carta was signed. At the beginning of his reign, John tried to tie all loose ends, as it were. He was unlucky. His marriage with Isabella of Angoulême, that would have been very useful in controlling his Angevin empire, fell through. He tried to recapture Normandy, but was totally defeated. All of these were good ideas, but they just didn’t work out. King John’s leadership was a failure; he alienated his barons, and got excommunicated by the Pope. But despite all these negative things, King John’s reign was so important because of the Magna Carta. Not only was this the first time that the King’s power had been limited, but the whole of our judicial system that we know the day he based on the Magna Carta. I think that King John’s leadership should not be remembered for his failures, but for the impact on life that we know today. ...read more.

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