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The NorthernersA Study in the Reign of King John$
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J. C. Holt

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203094

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203094.001.0001

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The Law of the Exchequer and the Custom of the Realm

The Law of the Exchequer and the Custom of the Realm

(p.175) X The Law of the Exchequer and the Custom of the Realm
The Northerners

J. C. Holt

Oxford University Press

In 1215 the King's opponents reviewed every important feature of royal policy and attempted to set limitations to his freedom of action. They did not see themselves as attacking or suppressing some new form of government, some absolutist or authoritarian system inimical to the established social and political order. If they were in any way self-critical, they saw themselves as confirming established methods of government and the customary conduct of relations between the King and his men, against a ruler who had distorted, altered, or ignored them. At its most general, the struggle was to them one of law on the one hand, against tyranny on the other. The forma securitatis of the Charter, its most radical ‘constitutional’ feature, sprang from the simple fact that many of the King's subjects no longer put any reliance on his good faith. John could not be trusted. If these men were to accept him as their lord once more, they were going to compel him to be a good lord. The principles of Magna Carta sprang from the particular maltreatment that each had received at his hands. Such maltreatment was usually expressed initially in a financial form.

Keywords:   Magna Carta, charter, government, King John, financial policy

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