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Medieval Revolution and King John Research Papers

A term paper on British History that includs the medieval revolution in government, King John's meeting at Runnymede and the signing of the charter can be custom written by the writers at Paper Masters.

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Medieval Revolution and King John

When writing about medieval revolution, you may want to choose one of the following British history questions to address when writing your paper:

  1. Between 1066 and 1189, governmental and legal institutions underwent a process of change that was so significant that some historians refer to these changes as “the medieval revolution in government.” What were the important developments during these years? Assess the significance of these changes in terms of the operation of the king’s government.
  2. In June 1215, King John and a significant number of his barons met at Runnymede to sign a charter that was put forth as a device aimed at solving baronial grievances and thus preventing conflict between the two parties. Trace the background to the political difficulties that culminated in this meeting, and discuss the major ideas contained in the charter signed on that day.
  3. What were the accomplishments and failures of Edward I in his efforts to unite the British Isles under a single monarchy? Identify and explain in the term paper to the historical significance of five of the following terms.

 

In your research paper on King John, it is a good idea to use at least 1 page each for the six concepts you see below.

1. Exe-Tees Line

2. Celts

3. William Caxton

4. Edward I and Scotland

5. Richard II

6. Henry V

King John was not the first of the Plantagenets to increase taxes on his subjects, nor, must it be said, was he to be the last English monarch who would find that the endless quest for money would cause political problems. This was to become an issue in the Tudor dynasty and in the Stuart dynasty as well.

Taxes could be increased with little in the way of political consequences if the government or monarch was strong and popular. King John’s older brother, Richard, had created new taxes in order to finance the Third Crusade, his own ransom money, and his wars in France. But Richard was a popular king, a “winner” on the field of battle most of the time, and his government, its administrative apparatus strong as a result of the work of Henry II, was able to raise taxes on real estate, income, and personal property without triggering anything worse than minor protests.

But King John was no Richard. He was not as popular with his subjects; he was not a successful military figure in the way of Richard. Overmatched by perhaps the greatest of the Capetian kings, Philip Augustus, he lost almost all of the lands that Henry II had held in France. His defeats there caused him to lose prestige with the barony and cost some of the magnates their Norman estates. His troubles with Innocent III, one of the most capable and powerful of the medieval popes, further weakened King John and his giving England to the pope and taking it back as a papal fief, further irritated the nobility. After a failed campaign in France in 1214, the barons, fed up with military defeat and high taxes, united against him.

Magna Carta was “a great landmark in the process of limiting the king’s power,” and also state that it was “a feudal document, drawn up by feudal barons, and concerned primarily with the protection of feudal interests”. It was not a document about English liberties, but about protection of a class of people living in England, the feudal aristocracy. There is more in it of financial terms than sweeping assertions of subject’s rights. Serfs, Strayer and Munro note, gained almost nothing from it. Nor did merchants and townsmen. Later romantic assertions about the document inflate a small kernel of truth into the whole; the Great Charter was about the rights of nobles.

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