Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament
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Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament

August 26, 2019


Video Transcript: Magna Carta [Music]>>Narrator: Stories from Parliament: Magna
Carta England, February 1215 and all is not well.
Across the country from North to South the voices of angry barons can be heard. The
cause of their anger: one man.>>Fitzwalter: King John.>>De Clare : He demands even higher taxes
to pay for his futile wars in France.>>Baron 3 : And if we do not pay up he takes
what he wants. We have to find a way to stop him raising taxes whenever he chooses.>>Fitzwalter: And taking our lands.>>De Clare: Stealing our lands.>>Baron 3: He promised that all this would
stop.>>Fitzwalter: He always promises.>>De Clare: His promises mean nothing. We
must do something to make him keep his word.>>Baron 3 : We are the baron lords of England
yet he shows us no respect.>>Fitzwalter: He can arrest us and hold us
prisoner without a fair hearing.>>De Clare: Our widowed sisters and mothers
can be forced in to a marriage just because the king orders it.>>Baron 3: Our rights and freedoms should
be protected by law.>>De Clare: King John believes he is above
the rule of law.>>Fitzwalter: Then we must have new rules,
which even a king must obey.>>Narrator: And it is not just the barons
who believe it is time to act. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself intervenes [Music]>>Archbishop: He may be above the laws of
men, but no one is above the laws of God.>>Dean: Pray silence for Stephen Langton,
the Archbishop of Canterbury.>>Archbishop: My lords. You have come here
today from all corners of England. Tell me, what are your concerns? Robert Fitzwalter
Lord of Dunmow Castle speak first.>>Fitzwalter: My Lords, when our king raises
taxation yet again he offends the people. When he seizes lands that do not belong to
him he offends the barons and when he seizes the wealth of the church he offends God. [Shouts of agreement]>>Archbishop: Richard de Clare. Earl of Hertford.
You wish to speak.>>De Clare: My Lord Fitzwalter is right,
but what can we do? The King cannot be reasoned with. He’s too
powerful.>>Fitzwalter: Then we must find a way to
limit his powers.>>De Clare: How will we do that? There are
no rules which a king has to obey.>>Fitzwalter: We will make new rules.>>De Clare: He won’t listen to us. He refuses
to recognise our rights. We have no voice.>>Fitzwalter: Then we must declare our rights
and find a voice. [Cheering]>>Fitzwalter: We must send a clear message
to the king. He must agree to limit his power.>>De Clare: And if he does not agree?>>Fitzwalter: Then together we will raise
a great army. We will take London and leave him no choice. [Cheering] [Drum beats]>>Narrator: But even when he knows that the
Barons are taking action, King John continues to raise taxes and seize lands which do not
belong to him. [Music]>>Chamberlain: Your Majesty, the rebels advance
towards London.>>King John: Really? Let them advance where
they like. I have nothing to fear from Robert Fitzwalter and his rabble.>>Chamberlain: They gather support Your Majesty.
The closer they get to London the stronger they become.>>King John: I told you. I have nothing to
fear. The people of London will stand by their king.>>Chamberlain: I’m not so sure Your Majesty.
Fitzwalter calls his troops The Army of God. I believe the people of London are on his
side.>>King John: I don’t care! I don’t care whose
side the people are on. I will not submit. No king of England will ever obey rules laid
down by traitors. [Door knock] [Running footsteps]>>Chamberlain: A messenger from London Your
Majesty.>>King John: Approach. Speak.>>Messenger: Your Majesty. Fitzwalter is
in London.>>King John: And?>>Messenger: The people cheer him.>>King John: They cheer a rebel traitor who
dares to stand against his king?>>Messenger: Yes Your Majesty.>>Chamberlain: Perhaps, Your Majesty, it
is time to talk to the rebels.>>King John: Never! I am the King of England.
I do not talk to traitors.>>Narrator: But King John will talk. He has
no choice and on the 15th of June 1215 at Runnymede near Windsor the two sides meet. [Fanfare of trumpets]>>Narrator: The barons present the King with
a document. 63 rules have been written down on parchment.
This will become one of the most important and famous documents in history.
People will call it The Great Charter: Magna Carta>>Fitzwalter: You will no longer force widows
to marry against their will.>>King John: Agreed>>Fitzwalter: You will not raise taxes without
the agreement of the barons.>>King John: Agreed>>Fitzwalter: No free man can be imprisoned
without being charged.>>King John: Agreed.>>Fitzwalter: Every man has a right to a
fair trial.>>King John: Agreed.>>Fitzwalter: And twenty five barons will
watch you carefully to make sure that you obey these rules.>>King John: (pause) Agreed.>>Narrator: King John places his royal seal
on the document so that the whole world will know that he has agreed to obey these
new rules. Of course this document doesn’t put an end to the quarrels between kings and
barons. Some of the rules are quickly changed and many are broken or ignored, but on the
15th June 1215 something important has happened. Magna Carta has shown for the first time that
it is possible to lay down rules which even a king must obey. Some of those rules apply
to this day.

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