A short and interesting history of Magna Carta and its surprising legacy
So few of the facts about Magna Carta in popular circulation are true. Its enduring place in popular consciousness is, however, indisputable. Its influence even extends to music: Kurt Weill composed a cantata, The Ballad of Magna Carta, about it. The rapper Jay Z even named his twelfth album after Magna Carta (albeit more because of a pun on his real name, Carter, than because he is a fan of the document, we assume).
Magna Carta wasn’t the first such charter: a century before, Henry I of England had issued a coronation charter in 1100, comprising 20 clauses. Yet it was Magna Carta that lasted in the English – indeed, the world’s – memory. The story of disgruntled barons forcing King John to sign a charter that would provide them – and other Englishmen – with liberties…
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