In this book author Dan Jones writes about the history and origins of the Magna Carta and how it came to be. He starts his story roughly 60 years before the document is set in place so that he can accurately show all of the stages of failure and revival. The Magna Carta was originally created as a peace treaty designed to make the king more accountable and answerable to his barons, this was both a success and a failure. This can, and often is compared to the Declaration of Independence which was put into place almost 500 years in the future. The Magna Carta was the first official document between the government and the people and it showed the concept of equal rights saying that no one, not even the king is above the law. We now view equal rights as a given but in the 1200’s it was not necessarily something that people thought of. Parts of the Magna Carta can still be seen in several current constitutional liberties such as trial by jury, due process and the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Even though this document was established in 1215 there are parts of it that are still relevant today and it shows that we as people haven’t changed all that much in that long amount of time.
King John did not want to sign the document whatsoever. In fact he tried to get it declared void by the pope after it being in place for only a little over two months. The treaty it self was however fairly biased because it really only benefited the barons and the free men which at the time was only about 20 percent of the population so it really didn’t help that many people.
There were several additional versions of the Magna Carta over the next 75 or so years so it was an extremely unstable document. Even in England today there are only around three of the original laws that remain in place, there were originally 63. This shows that the Magna Carta could not hold up to the changing times and has become nearly irrelevant in English government today.
Author Dan Jones believed that the symbolism of the Magna Carta was a cry for freedom in an opposition to tyranny during the 1200’s in England and he would be right. The citizens were stuck with a leader who they did not like who was stealing from the church and ultimately taking advantage of them all. It made sense that the people would try to fix the problem at hand. They just wanted to be free from their awful ruler and according to Jones during a time of chaos in England the Magna Carta served its purpose for the time being. The Magna carta went on to inspire other treaties and legal documents. During that time the English had no idea what they had started and it went on to impact the world heavily.