Happy 800th Birthday Magna Carta: A Tax Revolt Against Government Abuse

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Martin Armstrong via ArmstrongEconomics.com,

As with all historical events, you must always understand the context of the era in which an event takes place. True, King John (1166–1216) was forced to sign the Magna Carta on June 15, 1215 at the demands of the elite barons. The reason for that was rather important – the common man was not taxed, only the rich. At the core of this entire issue was a tax revolt over the abuse of government. The abuse was so profound that part of the demand included the right to trial by jury.


John lost the war in France, and desperately needed to raise money to try to regain Normandy. The king had three main sources of income available to him: revenue from their personal lands or demesne, money raised through their rights as a feudal lord, and revenue from taxation. However, whatever revenue a king would obtain from the royal demesne was inflexible and had been diminishing gradually since the Norman Conquest. This was further reduced as King Richard I (1157–1199) sold many royal properties in 1189 for the Crusades.



Taxation played a much smaller role in royal income at that point in time, for this was still more than 100 years from the Black Death of the 14th century that killed about 50% of the population, and resulted in wages at that time replacing serfdom. That led to the first Tax Revolt by the people in 1381.


The taxation that did exist was against the rich barons, not the common people, during the 13th century.English kings did have widespread feudal rights that could be used to generate income. One such feudal right included the scutage system, in which a cash payment to the king could help one avoid feudal military service. So if you did not want to be drafted into the military, you paid a fee to get out of it.



The king also derived income from fines, court fees, and the sale of charters and other privileges. Fines were called “amercements” and at the time, it was said that there was hardly an Englishman of substance who had not been amerced at least once a year. Magna Carta introduced the right to trial by jury, where the people decide if someone is guilty and what the fine should be. This drastically curtailed the king’s abuse of the legal system at that time.King John was very unpopular, for he had intensified his efforts to maximize all possible sources of income to regain Normandy. Contemporary commentators describe him as “Avaricious, miserly, extortionate and money minded.”

King John also used revenue generation as a way of exerting political control over the barons, which led to their revolt of 1215. Debts owed to the crown by the king’s favored supporters might be forgiven, while he would ruthlessly engage in the collection of those owed by enemies or those out of favor.

Magna Carta cut off the king’s ability to use the courts to raise money, as they are doing once again today. The demand for fines to be determined by jury was a major setback for the king’s revenue collection scheme. King John died a year after signing Magna Carta. After John’s death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III (1207–1272), reissued the document in 1216, but stripped off some of its more radical content in an unsuccessful bid to build political support for their cause.

At the end of the war in 1217, the document acquired the name Magna Carta. Henry III was forced to reissue the charter again in 1225 in exchange for a grant of new taxes. His son, Edward I (1239–1307) was also forced to repeat the exercise in 1297, agreeing to sign it in return for taxes. By this time, Magna Carta became a part of England’s statute law.

From a cyclical perspective, Magna Carta was signed on June 15, 1215 (1215.454). If we add the two main frequencies 51.6, we get to 1989.454, which marked the collapse of Communism in China and Russia, while the volatility frequency 72 brings us to 2009.854 – the major low and the start of the Sovereign Debt Crisis.

If we take the 224 year frequency that picked 1999.454, which is the low in gold and the turn in the economy, as well as when Britain sold off a part of its gold reserves making the low. If we add the 37.33 year Monetary Crisis Cycle that also produces 1999.384, confirming the major turn economically.It certainly appears that Magna Carta was an important turning point in history, for it lines up cyclically with critical modern turning points. This tends to support that we are indeed in a period of rising government abuse once again.

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JustObserving's picture

A tax revolt is so quaint when the government knows the porn preferences of all in your family.

Privacy - that is an even more quaint concept today.

Keep drinking that fluoridated water (it'll keep you calm) and eating those GMO foods as you endlessly debate whether Hillary or Jeb is better

Edward Snowden says NSA spying worse than Orwell’s ‘1984’


And before you begin your peaceful protests in the land of the free, know your facts:


Police in the US Kill Citizens at Over 70 Times the Rate of Other First-World Nations


Almost Solvent's picture

*Dreams for a world-wide EMP*


Damn it goD! Why have you foresaken us!!!!!!!!!!!!!


TeamDepends's picture

Goodbye $15 silver and hello $1500 silver. Impossible, you say? Not as the dollar approaches zero it ain't.

MonetaryApostate's picture

I down voted you, not because you could be wrong, but because you forget that in the 1930s they confiscated Gold...

This time however, I'm thinking they haven an entirely new plan, and that's simply to make precious metals fall out in value entirely, after of course everything is digital.

They aren't going to end fiat currency, no matter what it's value falls to, they'll just ban cash, and manipulate your bank accounts, in turn rendering your physical metal holdings worthless (because even if you sale it some how, they will simply confiscate your money, and yes they can & will do it.)

Only the ruthless are rich, fools believe they are safe, but there is no safety when criminals rule.  (PERIOD)


I'd invest in bitcoin while it's still cheap, something tells me tomorrow it will be extremely costly to enter later on.

(Any digital currency to be honest)

Moustache Rides's picture

They confiscated very little gold back then.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Just another obsolete piece paper, the best and brightest are soooo much smarter than those old white men.......

Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

The first 2 comments correctly pointing out the ridiculousness of expecting a piece of paper to stop evil men from being evil is very encouraging. There are only 2 options that I know of that can prevent the psychopathic would be elite from ruling, #1 will directed violence, #2 Complete ostracism by the actual human beings they try to rule.

Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

Like a pool cue? Very unique choice for a dueling weapon, but I'm sure it could get the job done.

RockyRacoon's picture

Interesting piece but for the conclusion drawing from tossing chicken bones and reading frog innards.

BoPeople's picture
BoPeople (not verified) Jun 15, 2015 11:39 AM

"Elite Barons"? A curious use of the word "elite".

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Yeah, just a small redundancy....

Urban Roman's picture

Not so much about taxes as it was central planning - vs - local control.

We are currently exploring the 'central planning' end of the spectrum...

MonetaryApostate's picture

Well, wars were costly back then, and I suspect it's how America won (Supposedly), with minute men / terrorist tactics, but that was WAY BACK IN THE DAY BEFORE TECHNOLOGY...  Today their control is absolute, and the only thing that can stop them is a huge army to the tone of many millions of well trained soldiers... (China / India / Russia?)


Anyway, we aren't going to get a break folks, and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly dreaming...

Enjoy your over-legislated / over-taxed life...  


(PS, I can't wait till judment day!)

N2OJoe's picture

Then how come they lose every war they get involved with against stone-age cave dwellers and jungle guerrillas?

Amish Hacker's picture

“Avaricious, miserly, extortionate and money minded.”

All hail King John, the first modern ruler.

Dr. Engali's picture

TPTB have been successful at neutralizing documents like the Magna Carta and the Constitution by dumbing down society to the point where they don't know wtf they are and how they were designed to protect them. But hey, at least we have flat screened teevees and the stupor bowl to keep us entertained.

SofaPapa's picture

I would note that as this article points out, the Magna Carta was not about the peasants.  It was about those who had enough to be worth controlling.  The lower 85% of society were completely ignored.  The bread and circuses (v. 5.2.1) of today was designed after the brilliant PR ploy of convincing the 85% (Orwell's chosen statistic) that we actually wield any control in the first place. In truth, however, that's exactly what it means to be part of this group: we don't wield control.  Cannonfodder, field labor, and - their modern corollary - consumers are it.  The people who don't see what's coming are those in the upper middle class, who represent the modern day equivalent of the barons.  There are a lot in that group who still think they are living the high life, and who are in for a rude awakening looking at the latest trends.

lawyer4anarchists's picture

LOL, the Magna Carta is as big a sham as our own holy constitution.  They are both just tools of the power structure.  Wake up.  http://www.thetruthaboutthelaw.com/they-really-put-the-con-in-constituti...

rubiconsolutions's picture

The last couple of paragraphs get a little too Star Trekky for me. Sound like stardates or something like that. Cyclic what? "Toldya...hydrogen times pi"

ParkAveFlasher's picture

If I add the number of empty water bottles on my desk, and multiply that by pi, and graph it sinusoidally according to inverse power law, minus the tangent of Julius Caesar's height in furlongs, I get a completely batshit self-reinforcing feedback loop of way-out-crazy that totally disqualifies any argument of merit posited in the same context.  Ergo, Martin Armstrong.

mastersnark's picture

You forgot to add "the two main frequencies 51.6" you idiot. Nothing makes sense without the two main frequencies. Nothing.

Pairadimes's picture

This is the partial truth. There would have been no Magna Carta if John had won Normandy back, but since he lost, he had been greatly weakened, and the rebel barons (who owed him a lot of money) saw a need and an opportunity to overthrow him. John's smarmy entreaties to the Pope probably saved his neck at the time, and caused the barons to agree to seek redress through negotiation.

The reality was that King John was an asshole. The barons rather liked their status, wealth and privilege, but John ruled by the old royal principle that the king was above the law, indeed was the law. English royalty had functioned previously according to unwritten rules that obligated civilized kings to follow certain rules and to confer on major matters, and John didn't care a rat's ass about those traditions. He was a singularly selfish and erratic monarch, and the realization that he saw their property as his property scared the shit out of the previously comfortable barons.


GOSPLAN HERO's picture

Read the "Jewish clauses" of the Magna Carta? 

The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) GOSPLAN HERO Jun 15, 2015 2:27 PM

"A third myth is that the document was a ringing endorsement of liberty. Even a cursory reading reveals a number of oddities. One clause prevents Jews from charging interest on a debt held by an underage heir. Another limits women’s ability to bear witness to certain homicides. A third requires the removal of fish traps from the Thames." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/opinion/stop-revering-magna-carta.html Not sure Professor Ginsburg is fully aware of the history... likely just stopping his analysis at 'anti-semitism' instead of the Crown's use of a ready scapegoat, and why the commoners and petty nobility so resented Jews as a group  {blaming the group for the actions of the few is all too human}.


From the comments: James Murphy Providence Forge, Virginia 1 hour ago Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution--both are seriously out of date, but with one difference. Britain constantly keeps tweaking the former while the United States regards the latter as the Holy Grail of jurisprudence--witness the right-wingers on the Supreme Court. ---------- First of all the few Jews in Britain at the time were mostly Court Jews who lent to the crown at high interest - guess who paid for that? The apology for it is that the Church basically left them no other trade. Something which may be somewhat true, but Latin and Greek pre-Christian writers certainly reference Jews and usury, and it is also in the torah that Jews may not charge other Jews interest - so blaming it on the Church may not be entirely fair... anyway, more interested in Mr. Murphy's comment. Not that the Constitution couldnt use some tweaking, but his insistence that it is "right wing" to adhere to the Constitution. "Left wing" of course means getting very creative with the language to avoid that pesky contract between a limited federal government and the several States. Alas, liberals are totalitarians inside.

Martian Moon's picture

It is more profitable to prey on fellow humans than to be productive

It has been the case for millenia, but was not always so

Until this axiom is overturned, we cannot return to the Garden of Eden

wisefool's picture

Meanwhile, in the future (2016) the USheeple will vote for either the Bush Dynasty, or the Clinton Dynasty. Between now and then each of these candidates will try to say 9/11 more than the other for the win! That event, the war on terra, the securty state is the excuse 51% of people use to justify these future rulers using the IRS to collect taxes from the other 49%.

There is a reason E.T.s don't visit earth. They don't want to be taken to our leaders, especially on a full stomach.

Colonel Klink's picture

I stopped working 6 years ago as my own personal legal tax revolt.  Fuck the tyrannical state!  Let them starve for funds.  Collapse the system to reset the corruption to a reasonable level.

wisefool's picture

That is the only effective way to change things systemicaly. Active protest, dissent, organizing, etc. is counterproductive as it simply enhances their power.

LawsofPhysics's picture

yes, but only if people return to barter in all things real will such an approach work...

want to really fuck the Fed and central banking, stop using their paper!!!

LawsofPhysics's picture

Of course in today's world, it is the exact opposite, the truly wealthy are NOT taxed...

The truly wealth do not have wages, they have "investments: and armies of tax attorneys and lobbiest...

This is NOT "Magna Carta" you stupid fuck, this is more akin to pre french revolution were the central problem is a "let the majority eat cake" monetary experiment.

tick tock motherfuckers...

taketheredpill's picture

If you add the digits from my last 3 licence plates and multiply by my birth date (divided by 1000) you get an S&P500 level of 2317.  That seems like a reasonable target to lighten up.


Sorry, 2330.  Forgot to add my penis size.


Sudden Debt's picture

I hope you don’t use the metric system or I’d advice you to click on that banner that says penis enlargement from scratch :)

Grinder74's picture

2317 plus 0 is still 2317.  

Sudden Debt's picture

Numerology in economic forecasting starting from the dark ages where fact and fiction meet... I thought they only did that to predict the future with the bible...

gmak's picture

Who am I to argue with an 800 year old document that has stood the test of time.  Tax the rich (only) before it becomes eat the rich.


"One such feudal right included the scutage system, in which a cash payment to the king could help one avoid feudal military service. So if you did not want to be drafted into the military, you paid a fee to get out of it."


Oh look.  Some traditions never die.

gmak's picture

"If we take the 224 year frequency that picked 1999.454, which is the low in gold and the turn in the economy, as well as when Britain sold off a part of its gold reserves making the low. If we add the 37.33 year Monetary Crisis Cycle that also produces 1999.384, confirming the major turn economically.It certainly appears that Magna Carta was an important turning point in history, for it lines up cyclically with critical modern turning points. This tends to support that we are indeed in a period of rising government abuse once again."


It was all good until this point. When one brings in things that remind me of the phases of the moon, astrology, and the tidal charts, it sort of removes some of the credibility in the earlier text. Besides, the author forgot to adjust for the number of bumps on the prez's head.  

reader2010's picture

Magna Carta took the forests out of the hands of the king and made them commons - back then as the source of fuel and food, materials to build shelter - so that capitalists were able to legalize dispossession and enclosure as their own capital. That is the historical fact. History is always written by victors and rapists.

theprofromdover's picture

.. and had King John not lost control of his army, he would have entertained the visitation with the papers in an entirely different manner.

NoWayJose's picture

The common man was not taxed, only the rich....  just like today?   We will soon reach over 50% of the people not only 'not paying' taxes, but getting checks from a bankrupt government.  The definition of 'rich' will soon be anyone with a full time job!

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Inflation is a tax on the common man.

mastersnark's picture

Yay, let's celebrate the day the very rich entered into a taxation agreement with the really powerful because that somehow helped us, the peasants, yay!

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Same old story.  Government invokes religion to go overseas to conquer people who look different and steal whatever it can from them, describing its actions as "courageous".  Government racks up huge war costs.  Government goes into debt.  Government tries to financially squeeze anyone within the country it can, any way it can.  But... local lords revolt, and their peasants support them against the government, and local lords actually win.

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Movie about King John and Magna Carta: "Ironclad".