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Magna Carta

This was a law document that the nobles of England forced King John to sign in 1215. The document guaranteed English lords certain rights. This is the first document to limit a monarch's rights.

James I

This Scottish king, and Elizabeth I's cousin, became the king of England in 1603. He had ruled as an absolute monarch and Catholic in Scotland, which led to problems with England's Parliament and Protestants.

Charles I

This English king tried to rule as an absolute monarch and force more Catholic rituals in the Anglican Church and in Scotland. This and his arguments led to the English Civil War. He was executed at the end of the war.


Representative institution that runs the English government. It is made up of the House of Lords and House of Commons.

English Civil War

This was a war in England in the 1640's. This war was fought between the forces of the King (Cavaliers) and the forces of Parliament (Roundheads- Puritans). The forces of Parliament won, executed the king, and established the idea that Parliament was superior to king in England.

Oliver Cromwell

This man was the leader of the forces of Parliament in the English Civil War. He later ran the Commonwealth of England and became a dictator when he took the title Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. He ruled England under a strict, Puritan religious/ moral code.


This was the period in which Charles II reigned. It is called this since he was the 1st monarch to rule after Cromwell's ruled the Commonwealth of England.

Habeas Corpus

This is the the legal right for a person to be informed of what they are being charged with and a judge determines if there is enough evidence to have a trial. This keeps kings from arbitrarily arresting political enemies. It was guaranteed toEnglish citizens in 1679.

James II

English king from 1685 to 1688. He made enemies with parliament when he displayed his Catholic faith, appointed Catholics to offices within the government, and had a Catholic son who would be heir to the throne. He was deposed in 1688.

William and Mary

Daughter and son in law of James II who replaced James in the Glorious Revolution.

Glorious Revolution

This was a bloodless revolution in England in 1688. King James II, who tried to act as an absolute monarch and was becomng overtly Catholic, was replaced by his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William. This revolution proved that the king was not above the law and would be replaced if he broke the law.

Constitutional/ Limited Monarchy

A monarch whose power is limited by a constitution or other document.


A Group of ministers (leaders of government) within the English government who advised the king and helped him make policy. These ministers come from the leading party in Parliament.

English Bill of Rights

This was a series of documents that William and Mary signed in order to become king and queen after the Glorious Revolution. Among other things, the documents guaranteed that the Parliament was superior to the monarchy and had control over England's finances. It also guaranteed English citizens certain due process laws.

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