The Magna Carta

Contributor: Kathryn Hay. Lesson ID: 13042

Have you ever had a coach or a teacher give you examples of how to best accomplish a task? Did you know that governments also look for examples from others when considering how to organize themselves?


United States, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Now that you've thought about what it would be like for a ruler to not have written rules to follow, you will learn about a world where this was true.

In England during the early 13th century, the king (King John) did not have a set of written rules. He had gotten completely out of control with his power.

  • He taxed the people of England more than they could afford.
  • He had no real guidelines to follow about punishments for accused criminals.
  • He overextended his control of the land.

The people of England were tired of the king mistreating them. They were ready to be ruled by someone who had written expectations. Without the rules written down, the king could say the rules had changed whenever it benefited him to say so.

The people could not argue much with the king without having written proof of what the rules were in the first place. Writing the rules down ensured that the king's actions could be checked by those who had access to the document.

The document that was written to keep track of these new rules for the king was called the Magna Carta.

Move on to the Got It? section to find out more about the Magna Carta.

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