It provided us the foundation of individual rights that we enjoy today. It poses an ongoing challenge to unlawful authority.
However, while not intended at the time of its drafting, Magna Carta has come to be seen not only as a liberty charter but also as a keystone of democracy. This broader historical context of Magna Carta’s significance makes it special to this date.
But do we still need centuries old manuscript to live in today’s world? Yes, we do and following 15 reasons show why magna carta is important.
15 Benefits Of Magna Carta That Show Its Significance
The principles laid in magna carta work as the fundamentals of any society. We bring you its significance to show why it matters even today.
1. Magna Carta Established Rule Of Law
One of the most important principles established by Magna Carta was that no one, not even a monarch, is above the law.
This idea was so radical for its time that it took another 800 years to be put into action! It did more than that by making the king responsible for his actions. When a monarch has to explain himself in the eyes of law, it builds people’s trust in the departments of state.
2. Magna Carta Prohibited Arrest Based On A Pretext
No punishment or arrest could be done without a fair trial. No subjects of the realm could be imprisoned, dispossessed, outlawed, exiled, or in any other way molested – save by the lawful judgment of their peers or the law of the land.
This was a major achievement for its time, when people were arbitrarily imprisoned and executed on a whim.
In fact, this provision of Magna Carta formed the basis of habeas corpus, which developed much later in the English common law system.
3. Magna Carta Limited Royal Power
Magna Carta made sure that outlawing outlaw was not up to the king alone.
In fact, any such order had to be confirmed by the witan, a council of advisers from leading families in the realm. However, only 25% of this group had to agree with a proposal for it to pass. But the effect of such law defied the dimensions of time, reaching to us as a ray of hope. It gave power in the hands of people.
This forms the basis of today’s democracy too. We find the autonomy in several hands. Dictatorship is discouraged in every country.
4. Magna Carta Pronounced No Tax Imposition Without Parliamentary Consent
The Magna Carta put many limitations on the power of monarchs. It established that taxes could not be imposed without parliamentary consent.
This means that the king could no longer extort money from his subjects without any justification.
It also meant that Parliament was established as an institution to represent the people, not just the king.
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5. Magna Carta Demolished The Inter-Kingdom Subsidies
Magna Carta stated that there could only be one king at a time, and he could not subdue other lands without the consent of his subjects.
This provision of Magna Carta showed that English kings were no longer free to burn down half of France on some pretext or another. It was a sigh of relief for peasants.
Moreover, it made the King autonomous only in the state under his jurisdiction. He had no absolute power over other states. It liberated them and allowed the development.
6. Magna Carta Provided Security To Assets
Magna Carta included a provision that prohibited the Crown from taking property without just compensation. It provided financial and social security to the people.
7. Magna Carta Vouched For Women’s Rights
It said that women could not be married against their will. They acquired the right to divorce an abusive husband through Magna Carta. It provided security to women.
This provision of Magna Carta laid the groundwork for later statutory protections of married women’s property rights too.
8. Magna Carta Guaranteed Freedom Of Elections
The Magna Carta established that all free men could elect from among their ranks those who would represent them in Parliament.
This made it clear that elections must be at least somewhat open and transparent, ensuring free expression of the will of the people.
Today, we find this aspect as a part of democracy. From the people asks for the best out of all, for the people promises that the elected must work for people’s betterment and by the people ensures that only those come in power who the public wants.
9. Magna Carta Guaranteed Jury Trials In Criminal Matters
The Magna Carta also guaranteed that juries would be drawn only from the free men, not serfs working for lords.
This provision set the stage for later trials by peers in criminal matters and by a jury of one’s peers in civil matters, thus ensuring that no man would be convicted by his social inferiors.
10. Magna Carta Banned Cruel Punishments
The ban on cruel and unusual punishment has become an important protection for today’s world, but at the time it was barely noticed.
However, this ban did provide later legal protections for individuals against punishments that were too harsh to fit the crime, thus setting a precedent for later standards of justice.
11. Magna Carta Provided Freedom Of Religion
The Magna Carta also stated that the Crown would have no right to interfere in matters of justice, which allowed for full enforcement of existing laws against heretics.
In fact, the clause specifically stated that any man who dies under the protection of the Church should be allowed a Christian burial.
The rights of the Church of England were a major concern when the Magna Carta was written. There was a lot of conflict between the king and the Pope. The first clause of the Magna Carta guarantees the perpetual freedom of the church.
The power of the church was preserved, but its significance has been re-imagined. It appeals to both notions of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Hence the freedom to follow any religion is a part of almost all the constitutions present in the world.
12. Magna Carta Tells The Tale Of People In Action
Despite the fact that the Magna Carta was not obeyed right away, the legend of the barons compelling the king’s signature is memorable. Until then, kings had dealt with barons, but everything they approved was entirely voluntary.
Magna Carta was the first occasion on which barons actively pursued their interests and compelled the king to listen to them.
13. Magna Carta Sowed The Seeds Of Democracy
Magna Carta is considered one of the first steps toward modern-day parliamentary democracy in England. Democracy has a number of principles that are critical to its success.
The rule of law and due process, for example, are crucial to democracy. From the Bill of Rights in 1689 to the US’s Bill of Rights in 1791, it is evident that the Magna Carta had a significant impact on Western history.
It was the catalyst for a major power shift from an all-powerful king to a more democratic government.
14. Magna Carta Is A Sign Of Liberty
Even though Magna Carta did not take the final step toward democracy that some had hoped for, it is still crucial in understanding liberty.
The Magna Carta itself does not contain modern ideas of democratic government. But its existence at the time was so radical that it forced people to think about their rights and freedoms in a new way.
15. Magna Carta Escalated The Movement For Human Rights
The UDHR drew much from British political tradition and previous declarations to create a cross-border view.
The international community has recognized war crimes, like activities of high taxation and corruption, as criminal acts- a clear violation of human rights.
Without the human rights provisions found in Magna Carta, it’s doubtful that this worldwide document would have been created.
Importance Of Magna Carta – Conclusion
Magna Carta is significant for its influence on future generations. The protection of rights, security of assets and freedoms are still valid laws today.
Though the details were refined over the centuries for relevance, but they were always built upon the framework established in 1215.
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