|This illustration shows the signing of the Magna Carta.|
The Magna Carta- In 1215 25 barons met with king John at Runnymede near the baron's base of Staines and the King's fortress of Windsor Castle on the 10th June, 1215. The barons drafted a charter which would lay down the basic foundations of modern day democracies. This included the separation of state and Church, that everyone could have access to the court regardless of wealth, forbade the King from issuing unreasonable taxes and laws as well as forbidding that any freeman not to be imprisoned or punished without previously going through a legal system. John left his royal seal at the bottom of the document, (he didn't actually sign it but his seal was quite literally the seal of approval), and the document was called the 'Articles of the Barons' and later the Great Charter or the Magna Carta.
|The King's seal|
|Simon de Montfort: the origin of Parliament|
The aftermath of de Montford and the Magna Carta- Both events of the 13th Century helped set a wave which would influence the full development of not just English but British democracy. The Magna Carta and growth of Parliament in strength led to the arguments between King Charles I and Parliament during the 17th Century where Parliament used the Magna Carta to challenge the King when he tried to deny Parliament's right. The fact that England had a Parliament coupled with the strength of the Scottish Parliament, (who was much more willing to deny the Scottish King compared to the English Parliament), could have helped make the union between Scotland and England much more easier which helped strengthen democracy in Great Britain. Extracts from the Magna Carta were used in the Declaration of Independence and notice how the Founding Founders criticized George III instead of the House of Commons. Napoleon who usurped attempts to make a liberal France called de Montford 'one of the greatest Englishmen', (de Montford was actually French ironically), and Nelson Mandela even quoted the Magna Carta during his 1964 trial speech! After all these years what was set out by the Magna Carta and Simon de Montford has led to the current system used in Britain; a thriving democratic, constitutional monarchy. It has allowed anyone to become Prime Minister including this man: