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Making peace

Making peaceMany of the clauses towards the end of Magna Carta were practical arrangements for making peace. Rather than looking forward to how the king was to behave in the future, these clauses sought to put right the wrongs done by King John.

The king was immediately to return all hostages, to remove all foreign knights and mercenaries from England, to remit all fines exacted unjustly, and to restore lands, castles and liberties to all who had been wrongfully deprived of them. These clauses were not statements of legal principle, but they were a vital part of the peace-making process.

Perhaps the most radical clause in Magna Carta was the 61st, which set up an elected commission of 25 barons to monitor the king's compliance with the settlement and to enforce its terms. The 25 barons had the power to seize the king's property in order to seek redress if he failed to stick to the terms imposed on him. This clause showed the innovative power of Magna Carta to limit royal autonomy.

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Knights fighting
Knights fighting