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Ann Lyon, 'A History Lesson for David Cameron', 1-15

Debate Forum

Published onMar 01, 2013
Ann Lyon, 'A History Lesson for David Cameron', 1-15

Introduction
The limits to Prime Minister David Cameron’s general knowledge hit the headlines at the end of September 2012 when an American talk-show host asked him about Magna Carta, and he was unable to say what the term meant literally. But is the current Prime Minister historically ill-informed (he also thought Edward Elgar wrote Rule Britannia), or did David Letterman simply ask the wrong question?2 The Latin words simply mean ‘Great Charter’. When the original carta libertatum issued by King John in 1215 was reissued for a second time (the first reissue came after John’s death in 1216) it was accompanied by a complementary specialist charter, the Charter of the Forest (Carta de Foresta). The original Magna Carta was expanded to take note of the declarations in The Charter of the Forest. David Letterman asked the wrong question. The important questions are: What is Magna Carta? and Why is it
significant? …

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