Western Civ Self Government Of The English People Essay

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Self-government of the English people The English people had competence for self-government due to an increase in the power invested upon the people, the desire of the common man to have a say in how his life is run, and the lack of omnipresence in government. While the governments of other western European nations were attempting to control everything, in the 12th century England began to alleviate governmental presence.2 Also in 1215, with the establishment of the Magna Carta, the people began to realize that they had the capability to govern just as the king did. Henry II was the king that began this process. A quote by A.B White sums it all up, “Henry II implemented self-government at the king’s command.”5 His chief contribution was the idea to increase the power of the royal courts and then decrease the power of the feudal courts. This had three major effects: a permanent system of circuit courts presided over by wandering justices, the jury system, and a body of law common to all England.1 The wandering justices would travel from place to place, and when they weren’t in town a representative from the town would be elected by the people to step up and be judge. Also Henry II established the Assize of Clarendon, the document that created the jury system.2 While both the judge and jury typically were educated men, these forward thinking ideas still gave the common man the feeling that he was participating in government more than the common man had before. The Magna Carta was the pinnacle of democratic reform of its time. The Magna Carta, developed by Archbishop of Langton, established that the king should remain under the common law, and separate from the domain of the people.3 This engendered a dramatic decrease in the power of the king. Along with the decrease of the power of the king there was an increase in the power of the people. The Magna Carta was

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