Seven Steps to a Limited Monarchy

  • Jan 1, 1215

    Magna Carta

    The Magna Carta was signed by the King in 1215 after being forced by English nobles. This document limited the power of the monarch by stating that citizens could only be fined or imprisoned if they did something against the laws of that land.
  • Jan 1, 1295

    "Power of the Purse"

    King Edward I brought nobility and Parliament together to ask for a new tax. At this time, Parliament created the "power of the purse" which gave Parliament, not the king, the power to tax citizens. This was very radical in limiting the power of the monarch.
  • Jan 1, 1533

    The English Reformation

    During this split from the Roman Catholic Church, England seemed to be moving away from Catholicism and more towards Protestantism. This created the threat that future kings who tried to reunite England with the Roman Catholic Church would not be successful. This issue in itself limited the power of future monarchs, and made absolutism impossible.
  • Jan 29, 1547

    Death of King Henry VIII

    King Henry VIII is the greatest example of an absolute monarch. When he died and his power was passed onto his children Edward, Mary, and then Elizabeth, the power of the monarch gradually lessened. Thus, his death marks the beginning of the road to a limited monarchy.
  • The English Civil War

    This was a conflict between King Charles I and a group of people who supported Parliament. Opposition grew towards him as he believed in the divine rights of a king, as given to him by God, and the two groups were at even more of a struggle when Charles instated taxes without the consent of Parliament. The war lasted from 1642 until 1648, and ended in the execution and defeat of the king. This ended the absolute power of Charles I, and sent a message to future monarchs.
  • The Glorious Revolution

    During the Glorious Revolution, Parliament established its supremacy over the king. This was when King James II of England was overthrown by a group of Parliamentarians. This overthrow of James began modern Parliament democracy.
  • The English Bill of Rights

    This document gave Parliament special powers that the king would not have. Including the right to tax and asserting basic liberties, this distinguished Parliamentary power over the monarch. Certain provisions even specifically stated what the king could not do. For example, it said that the king could not suspend the operation of laws.