King John Lackland

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King John of England, also known as John Lackland, was born either in late 1166 or early 1167 at the Tower of London. He was the youngest son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II, the latter controlling a ‘territory that stretched from the pyrenees in the south of France to the very borders of Scotland’. His father held considerable claims of territories at the time, and was part of a Royal House known as the Angevins. Due to the size of his controlled lands, they collectively became known of the Angevin Empire, and King Henry II became the first Angevin King in a line of three, followed by his sons King Richard and King John, respectively. As the youngest of four sons (five including William, who died at the age of 2), Lackland was not …show more content…
He was viewed as a general failure to the English Crown, and in the face of his territorial losses and the contrast of his highly successful older brother, obtained the legacy of being one of the more terrible kings in English history. The mysterious death of his nephew Arthur during his capture made King John to be regarded as a bloodthirsty and power hungry villain that would stop at nothing to sediment his position as King. During his lifetime, he lost almost all the French territories his father had obtained to Phillip II, and had spawned great rebellions amongst his barons. He was viewed very poorly amongst his vassals, notably for his ruthless taxation of his peoples to support his campaigns to retake France. However, his tyranny and lack of support from his nobles and barons turned out to be one of his greatest legacies as they led to the creation of the Magna Carta. Accidentally, King John had become an integral influence in creating one of the most fundamental documents for human rights and the limitations of power. Today, King John is regarded as a tyrannical figure of legend, such as in the stories of Robin Hood, yet without this tyrant, a fundamental document to human rights would never have come into existence. In medieval times, this document provided rights for the nobles, the church, and even the English citizen. We can observe the modern day influence of the Magna Carta in the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and various other documents in English Law. Though he left the Kingdom England in a state much less powerful that when he had inherited it, he provided the groundwork for a powerful constitutional monarchy and therefor was a leading factor in the transition away from monarchy in England, contributing to the construction of the modern English state we know

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