Magna Carta, an act towards democracy or a noblemen selfish fancy?

After numerous years of Absolute Monarchy, the time for rights to be deemed by the inhabitants of England came at last. Kind John of England had been countlessly defeated in various battles, and therefore started asking for outrageous sums of money from his populace. The general feelings towards the King escalated from praise to scorn in an insignificant amount of time. The situation being incredibly tense, something had to be done.

Generally in such cases revolts were risen on accounts of misbehavior towards a royal family member, so as to demand a change of demeanor without much risk. But it just so happened that nobody was eligible to replace the despised king, his sons being mere infants at the time. Therefore, the sagacious barons needed a façade for their hazardous plans. Subsequently in 1215 they presented the King Magna Carta, embellished and twisted so as to appear favorable for the whole community.

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However, upon a closer look you can plainly remark how sagely the words were employed to impress the reader with the so-called prerogatives it demanded for the peasants, whereas it actually provides them with no power whatsoever. Within the 63 articles solely two benefit the peasants. For instance, the document repeatedly utilized the form ‘The free people have the right to…’, which considering that at the time the society was divided in Free people and slaves, clearly proves how those rules were egotistically conceived to favor the feudal barons.

No Free Man can be obliged to pay a smarting fine for a unimportant illegality, and even a more serious one, not to burden their lives. […] The same, a fine required from a peasant cannot stop him from working the soil.

In the above stated article even though peasants are indeed mentioned and somewhat aided, it is obviously a mere attempt to distinguish the higher interest in the business, meaning the noblemen’s. While the aristocrats are completely spared from paying fines, their slaves are only mentioned for their masters’ fancies. Of course barons would need their workers able to do their job without being burdened with fines, deeming this right for them was solely a financial strategy.

The Barons will choose 25 people from amongst them that will try with all their might to make the peace and liberties provided by this cart respected and kept as they should.

To conclude, even though Magna Carta did make a huge step towards democracy, it was still far from what the word means today. This only enlightens us on how even in the seemingly selfless deeds there is always a selfish interest behind.

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