The British Magna Carta and Enlightenment Period

The Magna Carta was a very important document in world history as it was the first written document to limit the king and monarch’s power. Prior to the Maga Carta, Europe was dominated by kings which thought that they had the god given divine right of rule to make all and any decsion that they saw fit. The Magna Carta brought democracy back to the people.

In 1215 in Britain the aristocracy in England refused to give King John the money he needed to wage war unless he signed the Magna Carta. Knowing that he could not force the aristocracy to give him money without starting a civil war, he agreed and signed the Magna Carta document. The document stated that no man was above the law.

However while the Maga Carta greatly benefited the rich, the poor were still stuck in their state of poverty. The poor would not be protected by the law until several decades later.

The Magna Carta proved to be inspirational for the founding fathers of the American Constitution. The founding fathers believed that a written document like the Magna Carta would protect the liberty and rights of every citizen.

The 17th and 18th centuries were marked by a period of time called the Dark Ages. Instead of leaning more towards democracy, the governmentts leaned fathe from it. The Dark ages were characterized by oppression of the people and high mortality rates. Most Europeans and people around the world would suffer until the Enlightenment period started which marked the end of the Dark Ages.

The Enlightenment period got the people to question every action including that made by their government. New advancements were made in science and reson. The people began to question to power of the monarch and whether they really had a god given mandate to rule and do anything they wanted. The Enlightenment period helped bring democracy to governments in Europe as an emphasis was placed on reason. The social contract and Treatsie of Government by John Locke were written which told the people that the government and rulers had to answer to the people.

Soon Europe began changing when Napoleon came to power and changed the landscape of Europe.

The foundings of the American Constitution came from the British Magna Carta but a big source of information was also the French Constitution and the writings of philosophers John Locke and Voltaire. The inspiration and writings form Enlightenment thinkers in Europe and men like Thomas Jefferson helped create one of the oldest Constitutions in the world.

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