Critique of Americas Justice System


The Magna Carta and Policraticus are two historical documents, which eternally changed the face of the legal and judicial systems around the world for centuries to come. The Magna Carta was so influential that it can be viewed as a skeletal blueprint for our very own United States Constitution. Its influence still exists in democratic countries around the world.

Policraticus was composed in 1159AD as a statesman handbook by John of Salisbury, the Bishop of Chartes, France. The Magna Carta was a sort of constitution, a list of judicial laws created by feudal nobles and King John himself in 1215AD. The excerpt from Policraticus titled “A Defense of Tyrannicide” philosophizes the defense of tyrant assassinations. John of Salisbury gracefully argues that tyrants should be justly punished, and in his argument the only just punishment for a tyrant is death. He makes a point to describe the duality if mankind, especially leaders in his philosophical analysis of good and evil. He compares the prince, a representative of divinity and all things good, to the tyrant, representing evil incarnate [the devil]. John’s argumentative defense is poetic, and the words are gracefully constructed in an enjoyable manner.

The excerpt from The Magna Carta is basically a legal document, a constitution of sorts. It is a list of laws and regulations to be implemented and followed with utmost respect, even from the King. The list of laws is highly explicit, and set in stone. This was written as a legislation, and deals mainly with the topics of the due process of law, taxation without representation, free trade, international law, the King and nobility as being subject to the governing laws.
Although the two documents are very different in nature, tone, and style, they both address the prevention of corruption and abuse of power among those who have power.

Corruption is a problem that has been around almost as long as man, and the main objective of both documents was to acknowledge the problem and attempt to destroy it. Policraticus poetically addresses a punishment for the act of tyranny, whereas The Magna Carta makes an attempt to legislatively prevent the act of tyranny. The Magna Carta was very carefully constructed in the same manner with which many of The United States laws are written today. It was written very explicitly giving careful consideration to the avoidance of loopholes.

This document was so important to England and the rest of the world that many if its rules and regulations are the basis of numerous governments judicial systems around the world. It is obviously the backbone for the United States constitution, and the very foundation of the many freedoms and regulations, which make our country great.

The textbook describes The Magna Carta as “a peace treaty” between nobility, royalty, clergy, and average citizens, but the document itself seems more legislative than anything. It seems like a notion of laws laid upon a country for the soul purpose of governing the land, and the most important is the section of The Magna Carta, which describes everyone’s susceptibility to the laws including the people implementing them. Even the most powerful were not above the law. This is the basis that great and free countries strive on, a basis that looks out for the best interest of the citizens. The government’s purpose is to serve the citizens, not the citizens to serve the government.