John was inducted as King of England after the death of his brother, King Richard the Lionheart, in 1199. King John`s reign was marked by failure. He lost the Duchy of Normandy to the King of France and heavily taxed the English nobility to pay for his foreign misadventures. He argued with Pope Innocent III and sold ecclesiastical services to build the depleted royal coffers. After the defeat of a return campaign to Normandy in 1214, Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, called on the angry barons to ask the king for a charter of freedoms. King John of England (1167 – 1216) discovered that he had little choice but to sign a document of vital importance. The reign of the king, considered elusive and tenacious, seemed to be under an unfortunate star. He was often mocked because, unlike his older brothers, he received no country from his father Henry II (1133 – 1189). So he was often called John Lackland. From the beginning, he suffered from the fact that he was the successor of his popular brother Richard the Lionheart (1157 – 1199). Moreover, he was in constant conflict with the Church. The clergy kept an eye on him to ensure that he did not gain too much influence over the inner life of the Church.
But the biggest factor in the rapid loss of respect for the king was the persistent „no“ with France about the continental country of northern France, which belonged to the English crown. The Magna Carta article that says that the king is not in a position to impose any tax, „unless by a common council of our kingdom“ recalls a similar political claim made during the American War of Independence at the end of the 18th century: „No taxation without representation.“ Author: Matthias von Hellfeld (dc) According to the British standard, King John`s Great Charter has 63 clauses, but no single article – it is simply called Magna Carta, without the „die“. The Charter was written in Latin (in which there is no specific equivalent for „year“ or „those“), signed by men who would have commonly generated Latin, French and average English. But for American newspapers, museum exhibitions and politicians, Magna Carta almost always deserves the article. When Henry III reissued Magna Carta, his 69 clauses had been reduced to 27. Thus it remained, with minor changes, until the 19th century, when British parliamentarians began to reduce the outdated laws of the multifaceted British legal code. Until the middle of the 20th century, there were only three clauses in the books. These remaining laws give freedom to the Church of England, guarantee the customs and freedoms of the City of London and, above all, arbitrary arrests and the sale of justice. This first Magna Carta, conceived as a peace treaty, never had its full effect and failed to avoid a war between John and the nobles. In September 1215, the barons had occupied the rocky castle against the king, while John had successfully asked the Vatican to cancel the Magna Carta and excommunication all the rebels.
It was not until 1225 that a new king, Henry III, 9, published an abbreviated version of the Magna Carta as his own coronation charter. The Charter, consisting of a preamble and 63 clauses, dealt mainly with feudal causes that had little impact in England outside the 13th century. But the document was remarkable in that it implied that there were laws that the king had to respect, which precluded any future claim of the English monarch to absolutism. The greatest interest for future generations was Article 39, which stated that „no free person can be arrested or imprisoned, dispossessed or expropriated, exiled or victimized in any way…… except by the legitimate judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. This clause was hailed as an early guarantee for trial by the jury and habeas corpus and inspired the Petition of England (1628) and the Habeas Corpus Act (1679).