Eight hundred years ago, in 1215, King John of England, because of his tyrannical misrule, faced a revolt of his barons. To quell the revolt, he agreed to the terms of the Magna Carta. It was a seminal event in the history of freedom. By signing, King John made himself subject to the laws of the land and agreed to rule only with the consent of the barons. This from the site Mental Floss:
To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the creation of the Magna Carta, the British Library has created two animations—narrated by Monty Python's Terry Jones—about the groundbreaking "Great Charter." The first . . . explores the document's history. The second . . . outlines why the charter was created and what it says.
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the Magna Carta. The rights set forth in the Magna Carta, especially the limitation on the power of the King to lay taxes without consent of the barons, lay at the heart of the American Revolution. A direct line can be drawn from the Magna Carta to our democracy, our Republican form of government, and our Bill of Rights.