Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John put his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter” on this day in 1215AD. This 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 it was more a reactionary than a progressive document, the Magna Carta was seen as a cornerstone in the development of democratic England by later generations.
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