Sunday, June 15, 2008

History Lesson

I was just reading that today is the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. That happened in the year 1215 and it’s one of those bright spots in the history of mankind. I remember taking a history class at Moorpark College back in the early 70’s and the instructor maintained that knowing the dates of important events in history was secondary. What was important was the impact of that event. What happened and why, not when. So, 1215 or 1220, who cares? It’s almost 800 years later and the Magna Carta is important today because the right of habeas corpus and a fair trial, a jury trial, were derived from this document that was grudgingly signed by King John. “The king…was more or less coerced into agreeing to the document by a group of barons who were upset at his disastrous and costly foreign policy. Although actually a reactionary move by the barons to insure their feudal rights, the Magna Carta took on symbolic significance as one of the earliest instances of the law possessing greater authority than the king.”

Disastrous and costly foreign policy”? "Habeas Corpus"? Fair trials? Whoa! Does any of that sound familiar? I love history!

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