Continuing Education... Nicholas Vincent on the Magna Carta
By Amy Willis
Did an 800 year old piece of parchment really change the world? That was the central question of this week’s episode with Nicholas Vincent.
Now we want to turn the conversation over to you. Use the thought prompts below to carry on the conversation in the Comments. (And we hope you spark some off-line conversation of your own, too!) You never know…your Comment could be featured in an upcoming EconTalk post!
1. What are your top three takeaways from this week’s episode?
2. Vincent argues that the Magna Carta takes the “precise opposite” position as compared to the U.S. Constitution with respect to the Church and religion. Roberts takes a different approach and argues that the Constitution and the Magna Carta actually take a similar approach. What are their differences and how can they be reconciled?
3. Vincent sees a crucial role for the Church in the physical preservation of the Magna Carta and its influence. What is his argument?
4. Make the case that the Magna Carta had unintended consequences for the barons who urged it upon King John and illustrates the importance of institutions being (in the words of Adam Ferguson) the product of human action but not human design.
5. Why do you think A.A. Milne chose King John to be the subject of this poem for children? What is his message for the adults? How would you describe his portrait of King John?