May 27, 1199: John is crowned king of England August 24, 1200: John married Isabel d’Angouleme Spring 1202: Philip II summons John to court; John refuses May 1202: John captures his nephew, Arthur of Brittany, who then disappears August 1204: Philip seizes all of John’s French holdings except the Aquitaine October 1214: John lost his final battle against Philip & resigned himself to his losses
1205: Canterbury secretly elects a new archbishop and sends him to Rome for papal confirmation 1205: John forces the Canterbury chapter to elect his candidate as archbishop 1207: Pope Innocent III consecrates his own choice, Stephen Langton, instead…who John then bans from England 1208: Innocent places an Interdict on England 1209: Innocent excommunicates John, who proceeds to seize all church assets for his own 1213: John and Innocent reconcile, with John offering England as a fief to the papacy. This made John the Pope’s vassal but also won him the full support of the papacy against his enemies.
1212: Plot to overthrow John failed 1214: Barons refused to supply troops for John’s battle against Philip II April 1215: Barons from the north & east organize against John and seize control of London, Lincoln, and Exeter June 15, 1215: Langton organizes a truce between the barons and John that forces John to sign the Magna Carta Fall 1215: The First Baron’s War begins when John refuses to abide by the charter October 18, 1216: John dies just as he was losing the war
Protection of church rights Protection from illegal imprisonment Access to swift justice Baronial consent for any new taxes A limit on feudal dues & payments Most importantly, it established a council of 25 barons who would serve as a “check” on John’s power. This was unheard of in medieval times.
John’s son, Henry III, would reissue and confirm the basic articles of the Magna Carta…except the council of barons. It would continue to reconfirmed byHenry III virtually every other king until Henry VI.
Until the First Baron’s War & the Magna Carta, the power of the kings of England had been virtually unchecked. Afterwards, the English kings quickly learned that “if the barons ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”! Henry VI Richard III Edward II Richard IIDeposed in 1327 Deposed in 1399 Deposed in 1461 & Deposed in 1485 1471
England’s medieval kings were not the only ones to feel the brunt of the nobles’ newfound empowerment. Over the years, more and more checks were placed on the Crown’s power (including the creation of Parliament) until it turned into the constitutional monarchy that we see today.
The charter’s guarantees of due process and the freedom of the church in England are not only still on the books there today but their influence can also be seen in America’s Bill of Rights. The Magna Carta The Bill of Rights