Magna Carta is frequently mentioned in children’s history books where traditionally it has been taught as one of the foundations of British liberty. Such books include Our Island Story, first published in 1905, in which ‘the Story of the Great Charter’ is presented as an important chapter in the nation’s democratic development. Combining history with vivid story-telling, Our Island Story portrays King John as a maniac who ‘gnashed his teeth, growling and snarling like a wild animal mad with rage … These things seem to us now quite natural and right, so you can imagine what evil times these were when the King was unwilling to grant such liberty to his people.’ Our Island Story was nominated by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010 as his favourite childhood book, saying that it ‘nurtured my interest in the history of our great nation’.
- Article by:
- Alex Lock
Throughout the 20th century, Magna Carta inspired figures across the political spectrum, from suffragists and fascists to those drafting human rights legislation. Dr Alexander Lock explores the charter’s relationship to the Second World War, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and modern America.