Magna Carta (Great Charter) was originally a peace agreement between King John and a number of rebel feudal lords (barons), signed and agreed at a meadow at Runnymede in Surrey in 1215. It addressed a number of grievances arising from the government and policy of both King John and his brother Richard I—discontents that had come to a head as a result of John's dispute with the Church and his military defeat at the hands of Philip II of France. However, the terms of the agreement dealt with these issues by articulating general principles, rather than by settling specific concrete disputes, and it was this generality that made it a historic document of permanent importance. There were precedents for royal charters of this nature, notably ...

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