Для добавления текста щелкните мышью Magna Carta and the Decline of Feudalism
John was an unpopular king. He was greedy. In 1204 the French king invaded Normandy and the English nobles lost their lands there. John had failed to carry out his duty to them as Duke of Normandy. He had taken their money but he had not protected their land.
In 1215 John hoped to recapture Normandy. He called on his lords to fight for him, but they no longer trusted him. They marched to London, where they were joined by angry merchants. Outside London at Runnymede, a few miles up the river, John was forced to sign a new agreement.
Magna Carta Libertatum (the Great Charter of Freedoms) Kings are not above the law. King could not collect any new tax without the consent of the Great Council. King could not violate due process of law.
In fact Magna Carta gave no real freedom to the majority of people in England. The nobles who wrote it and forced King John to sign it had no such thing in mind. They had one main aim: to make sure John did not go beyond his rights as feudal lord.
Magna Carta marks a clear stage in the collapse of English feudalism. Feudal society was based on links between lord and vassal. At Runnymede the nobles were not acting as vassals but as a class. They established a committee of twenty-four lords to make sure John kept his promises. That was not a "feudal" thing to do. In addition, the nobles were acting in co- operation with the merchant class of towns.
Для добавления текста щелкните мышью The Beginnings of Parliament
Henry III's heavy spending and his foreign advisers upset the nobles. In 1258 once again they acted as a class, under the leadership of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester. They took over the government and elected a council of nobles.
De Montfort called it a parliament, or parlement, a French word meaning a "discussion meeting". This "parliament" took control of the treasury and forced Henry to get rid of his foreign advisers. The nobles were supported by the towns, which wished to be free of Henry's heavy taxes.
Edward I brought together the first real parliament. Simon de Montfort's council had been called a parliament, but it included only nobles. It had been able to make statutes, or written laws, and it had been able to make political decisions. However, the lords were less able to provide the king with money.
In the days of Henry I 85 per cent of the king's income had come from the land. By 1272 income from the land was less than 40 per cent of the royal income. The king could only raise the rest by taxation. Since the rules of feudalism did not include taxation, taxes could only be raised with the agreement of those wealthy enough to be taxed.
Edward I was the first to create a "representative institution" which could provide the money he needed. This institution became the House of Commons. It contained a mixture of "gentry" (knights and other wealthy freemen from the shires) and merchants from the towns.
In 1275 Edward I commanded each shire and each town (or borough) to send two representatives to his parliament. This, rather than Magna Carta, was the beginning of the idea that there should be "no taxation without representation", later claimed by the American colonists of the eighteenth century. During the 150 years following Edward's death the agreement of the Commons became necessary for the making of all statutes, and all special taxation additional to regular taxes.
Для добавления текста щелкните мышью Other Important Issues
The relationship between the Church and the State Thomas Becket
Wars with Celts Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots John de Balliol Robert Bruce William Wallace The sacred Stone of Destiny from Scone Abbey Arbroath
Law and Justice Henry I introduced the idea that all crimes, even those inside the family, were no longer only a family matter but a breaking of the "king's peace". It was therefore the king's duty to try people and punish them.
Henry wanted the same kind of justice to be used everywhere. So he appointed a number of judges who travelled from place to place administering justice. The law administered by these travelling judges became known as "common law.
The growth of towns as centres of wealth The export of raw wool Guilds