Today’s Birthday, June 15: The Magna Carta

JONATHAN TURLEY

Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), guest blogger

“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history . . . It was written in Magna Carta.”

–Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Third Inaugural address (1941)

On June 15, in  the year 1215 AD, the King of England was an involuntary “guest” of a group of forty rather angry Barons in a field at Runnymede. After the Barons explained “the facts of life” to him, King John affixed his Seal to a document they called the Magna Carta. In those days, documents were not signed, as is the custom today.  Instead of a signature, the official Seal of the person “signing” was impressed into hot wax poured onto the document.

King John consented to the Baron’s demands, sealing the document in hope of averting a civil war. Ten weeks later, Pope Innocent III proclaimed the Magna Carta document null and…

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