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Synopsis

To mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015, this guide recounts its story within the context of the corrupt rule of King JohnJohn became king in 1199 and although all medieval kings had constantly to worry about financial issues, it is the inept way that John dealt with his that caused so much resentment. John lost his military campaigns; he was corrupt, indulged in blackmail, and manipulated the justice system more than any other king. He was a womanizer and rumors of ruthlessness surrounded him. The author provides fascinating insights into John's rule, which ultimately leads to the story of Magna Carta. Magna Carta placed huge impositions on the king; now he could no longer rule arbitrarily but only in accordance with "the law of the land." Among the charter's clauses are those that focus on more mundane matters and ones that can seem to reflect the narrow interests of the barons demanding it, from standardizing measures of wine, ale, and corn to a whole range of references to feudal issues. Some clauses, however, have made it onto the statute books of today. This guide is a perfect mix of the incompetent rule of King John and his legacy that is Magna Carta.

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