What provisions were made for the Church in the Magna Carta? In what ways is Magna Carta a traditional feudal document? In what ways does it deal with changing conditions posed by the revival of trades and towns? By the expansion of government? Why can it be considered a constitutional document?

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The first clause of the Magna Carta specifically provides for the Church, stating that "the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired." In particular, the Church in England was free to choose its own bishops and other officials, subject to approval of...

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The first clause of the Magna Carta specifically provides for the Church, stating that "the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired." In particular, the Church in England was free to choose its own bishops and other officials, subject to approval of the Pope.

The Magna Carta is a "constitutional" document in the broad sense that is part of the British constitution, the collection of Parliamentary laws and traditions, royal edicts, and judicial decisions that forms the basis of British government. Such foundational principles as a trial by one's peers, taxation only under consent, and others are found within the Magna Carta. But fundamentally, it is a feudal document, one that restrains King John from continuing to violate the rules of kingship as established over the years in England. It established (or, more accurately, John specifically promised not to violate) rules for inheritance, outlined the terms of feudal dues, and set restrictions on the service the king could demand of his knights. All of these were issues related to feudalism, which was a complex system characterized by mutual (but unequal) obligations.

But Magna Carta also attempted to address the expanding influence of the emerging class of merchants who lived in English cities and towns. It guaranteed the "ancient liberties" and "free customs" of London and other "cities, boroughs, towns, and ports" within England, which essentially protected the ability of these urban areas to regulate trade within their confines. It also regulated the borrowing of money, specifically mentioning Jews as lenders, protected private property like horses and carts, and called for the establishment of a system of weights and measures throughout the kingdom. These measures reflect the desire on the part of a fledgling bourgeois merchant class to streamline commerce within the kingdom.

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