Medieval Conflicts and Crusades (700-1500)
Standard: 7.6.5
  • Know to have understanding of the significance of developments in medieval English legal and constitutional practices and their importance in the rise of modern democratic thought and representative institutions (e.g., Magna Carta, Parliament, development of habeas corpus, an independent judiciary in England).
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Kings, Nobles, and the Magna Carta

Key Terms and People

William the Conqueror: William Concord King Harald of England and became king of England

King John: His efforts to raise taxes lead to conflict with his barons over taxes and royal power.

common law: a body of law that has developed from custom and from judges' decisions rather than laws passed by a lawmaking assembly

habeas corpus: court order to bring an arrested person before a judge or court

writ: court order

Parliament: an assembly of representatives who make laws

Section Notes

The Norman Conquest

  • 1066, William the Conqueror, Conquered King Harald of England and William became king of England.
    1. Strong feudal system
    2. People in power-people from Normandy
    3. Latin and French-law
    4. Modern English language

Limits on Royal Power

  • King John, 1199, he rose taxes which lead to conflicts between his barons
  • Magna Carta-gave barons certain rights (taxes, trial by jury, rule by law)
  • habeas corpus-bring an arrested person before judge or court
  • writ-jailers who received a writ of habeas corpus must release the prisoner or present a reason for keeping a person in jail
  • Parliament-representatives who make laws: House of Lords represented nobles. House of Commons represented nights and towns leaders


Summary: The Norman Conquest transformed England. Rights guaranteed in the Magna Carta limited the power of kings.

Study Guide Questions

CP 419. How did William the Conqueror become King of England?

CP 421. What was the Magna Carta?

CYP 421, 1a. Where did the Normans come from?

CYP 421, 1b. How did the Norman conquest change in England?

CYP 421, 2a. Why was the Magna Carta written?

CYP 421, 2b. How did the Magna Carta limit royal power?

Practice Test

Homework: Choose one
  1. Workbook Chapter 15, section 2 (Page 185)
  2. Answer three of the study guide questions using complete sentences.
  3. Draw a picture of something important from this section and summarize this section of the text (three sentences minimum).