The Rule of Law. The Magna Carta introduced the idea that you could limit the power of a ruler. The Magna Carta also made sure that individuals would be treated fairly if they were convicted of a crime. Directions

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The Magna Carta

The Great Charter of 1215

The contract, or agreement, known as the Magna Carta (“Great Charter’’) was one of the most important documents in modern European history. The Magna Carta was an agreement between the nobles of England and the English king, King John. It was signed in the year 1215. The Magna Carta reduced the power of the king and gave the nobles certain rights and privileges. This was the first time in English history that such an agreement had been set down in writing.

The Magna Carta was the first step in the process of turning the government of England from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. It also had a significant influence on the government of the United States. The most important idea that later governments took from the Magna Carta was that any ruler (the king, Prime Minster, president) must follow the laws like everyone else. This is known as The Rule of Law. The Magna Carta introduced the idea that you could limit the power of a ruler. The Magna Carta also made sure that individuals would be treated fairly if they were convicted of a crime.

Directions: Below are excerpts from the Magna Carta. Read the excerpt and decide what words go in the blanks of the explanation below the excerpt. Then read the scenario and answer the question using the excerpt and explanation.

1. EXCERPT:TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs.”

Explanation: This meant that liberties listed in the document were given to the nobles and extended to include “ ” and their (children) forever. At the time, this covered about 10% of the population; however, over time, as more of the population qualified as “free men,” it came to include almost all of the people of England.

Scenario: Evan is a peasant who farms the land of Knight Winter. He works the land, but the land still belongs to Knight Winter, and Evan’s services (and basically his life) belong to the knight. Will he or his children enjoy the rights and liberties granted in the Magna Carta? Why or why not?

2. EXCERPT:For a trivial offense, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offense, and for a serious offense correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighborhood.”

Explanation: The punishment for breaking a law should be in to the seriousness of the crime/offense. This means that the punishment for breaking a law should be equal to the crime or fair.
Scenario: Carinne the Knight is impoverished and destitute. Out of desperation, she steals a loaf of bread from Lord Gill’s table. As punishment, Lord Gill orders that Carinne’s arm should be cut off and used to flog her. Lord Gill also takes Carinne’s horse and plow, but she will still be expected to supply Lord Gill with food. Does this follow the Magna Carta? Why or why not?

3. EXCERPT:In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing witnesses to the truth of it.”

Explanation: Before you can be accused and put on trial for a crime, a “ ” must be found.
Scenario: Alyssa has accused Haley of breaking into the castle of Lord Adams and destroying what was no doubt a fishy experiment dealing with alchemy. Alyssa is a greedy knight who would like some of Haley’s land. Even though no one saw Haley near the castle, most knights tend to side with Alyssa since she is quite brutal when people disagree with her. Can Haley be put on trial for the crime? Why or why not?
4. EXCERPT:No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”

Explanation: When on trial, you cannot be convicted (punished) without the judgment of your

________ . Today we call this a jury of one’s peers.
Scenario: Queen Teets suspects that Knight Zach of the Round Table has violated the code of chivalry by refusing to offer assistance to an ailing knight in need of resuscitation on the battlefield. Therefore, Queen Teets calls together the Knights of the Round Table to discuss the accusation and put Knight Zach on trial. Is this fair? Why or why not?

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