Magna Carta turns 800 years old on Monday. Here are five things to know about the famous charter:
1. What is the Magna Carta?
The Magna Carta established the idea that everyone is subject to the law, even kings. It was a direct response by English medieval King John (1199-1216) to a political crisis. The document underpins Britain’s (unwritten) constitution.
2. Why does it matter?
Although it has been put to many disparate uses since it was first drafted, at its heart it enshrines the idea that power should not be used arbitrarily against a people. The Magna Carta is often cited as the key building block of democracy and one of its most vital foundational documents.
3. Why does it matter right now?
June 15,2015, is the 800-year-old anniversary of King John signing the Magna Carta at Runnymede, England. He was forced to sign the charter by a group of about 40 rebellious barons.