In this episode of Turning Points in British History, we meet the fascinating, but dysfunctional Plantagenet family for the first time, as Henry II comes to power. Although often overlooked in the history books, Henry vastly extended England's territory and power and can be viewed as the "father" of English common law. The struggle between the King and the Church originates with Henry and comes to a climax with the infamous murder of Thomas Becket. Henry's sons, Richard (the Lionhearted) and John, perceived as more colorful figures in films like Robin Hood, are ineffectual at best, and their disastrous reigns strip England of much of their inherited land, riches and power. John's dismal failures and excesses lead to the establishment of the first written document outlining the rights of the people and the limits of the rulers - the Magna Carta. Centuries later, American colonists will pen a similar document, the Bill of Rights.
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