What Was the Magna Carta AP World History?

The Magna Carta is a significant historical document that has played a significant role in shaping the political landscape not just in Europe but across the world. The Magna Carta is also known as the Great Charter and was signed in 1215 AD by King John of England. The document provided a set of laws and principles that were designed to limit the power of the monarch and establish fundamental rights for all citizens.


King John was a ruthless monarch who had a reputation for being cruel and tyrannical. He levied heavy taxes on his subjects, violated their rights, and ignored the rule of law.

In response, a group of barons led by Robert Fitzwalter rebelled against him. The rebels captured London, forcing King John to negotiate with them.

The Signing of Magna Carta

On June 15, 1215 AD, King John met with the rebel barons at Runnymede near Windsor Castle. The meeting resulted in the signing of the Magna Carta. The document contained 63 clauses that addressed various issues such as taxation, feudal rights, and due process.

Content of Magna Carta

The Magna Carta established several fundamental principles that are still relevant today. These include habeas corpus (the right to a fair trial), due process (the right to be heard before being punished), and trial by jury (the right to be judged by one’s peers). It also limited the power of the king by establishing a council of barons to oversee his actions.

Impact on World History

The Magna Carta was revolutionary for its time since it established fundamental rights for all citizens regardless of their social status or wealth. It served as an inspiration for other documents such as the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.


In conclusion, the Magna Carta was a crucial historical document that established fundamental rights and principles that are still relevant today. It was a significant step towards limiting the power of the monarch and establishing democratic principles. The document serves as a reminder of the importance of individual rights and due process in any society.