Charter of Liberties


‘Are you familiar with the Magna Carta?’ Camp asked me when we were comfortable settled at our usual table at our favorite seaside pub.

            ‘You mean the English Common Law from the Middle Ages? I’m superficially familiar with the term. What gives?’

            ‘A friend handed me a printout the other day pertaining to this charter of liberties of which the English barons convinced King John – yes, the one of Robin Hood fame – to give his assent to this document in June 1215 in Runnymede, along the river Thames in Surrey, about 20 miles west of London.’

            ‘Ok, why is it called the Magna Carta?’

            ‘It means ‘Great Charter’ and it was mainly composed by Cardinal Stephen Langdon as part of a mediation agreement for peace between Pope Innocent III and King John. But the Pope was infuriated by the arrogant behavior of the 25 barons who enshrined the Magna Carta into law and he annulled the Charter which he deemed a threat to his authority.’

            ‘Power and Politics?’

            ‘Yes, the usual I guess but the charter stands up through the ages while that Pope is long gone.

            ‘Ok, so how does it compare to our Charter of Rights?’

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