On This Day in History, June 15, 1215, the “MAGNA CARTA” was SEALED. At the time it was probably not understood what an earth shaking event was taking place. Today, the document is considered the Great Charter of Freedom for English speaking people. Its influence has now been spread upon the face of the earth to many lands and languages.
“Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or ‘Great Charter.’ The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation’s laws. Although more a reactionary than a progressive document in its day, the Magna Carta was seen as a cornerstone in the development of democratic England by later generations.”
Quite interesting it is that in this year, 2005 AD, almost 800 years after those English nobles wrote the great document of governance, in all of Europe, which now includes England, there cannot be found minds to equal those of seventh century England, nor even of the American colony of the 1770s. The “oh-so-superior” French and their leaders of today cannot create a constitution for the European Union to govern itself. Once again the French say “NON”.
“For the French to say no to Europe is like the English saying no to beef or the Russians saying no to vodka. Or perhaps like the heart saying no to the body. The Dutch and French no are a terrible blow to the morale of true believers in political union, whose faith in the historical inevitability of their dream may never recover.”
Magna Carta and Its American Legacy
Before penning the Declaration of Independence–the first of the American Charters of Freedom–in 1776, the Founding Fathers searched for a historical precedent for asserting their rightful liberties from King George III and the English Parliament. They found it in a gathering that took place 561 years earlier on the plains of Runnymede, not far from where Windsor Castle stands today. There, on June 15, 1215, an assembly of barons confronted a despotic and cash-strapped King John and demanded that traditional rights be recognized, written down, confirmed with the royal seal, and sent to each of the counties to be read to all freemen. The result was Magna Carta–a momentous achievement for the English barons and, nearly six centuries later, an inspiration for angry American colonists.
In 1956, the twentieth century’s great leader, Winston Churchill, described The Magna Carta thus:
…here is a law which is above the King and which even he must not break. This reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression in a general charter is the great work of Magna Carta; and this alone justifies the respect in which men have held it.