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King John is one of the most well-known figures in history because he signed Magna Carta. He was considered a weak king who was managed by others like the barons and the Pope. He taxed the country far too much and despised many of his own people, especially the barons. As a result, many modern day historians consider him a bad king. In this essay, I aim to prove that King John wasn’t really a bad king because, although there is evidence to support poor kingship, especially in terms of the relationship between him and the barons, most of the problems he faced were caused by the legacy left by his father and brother. Furthermore he was responsible for some good deeds therefore it could be argued that rather than being a bad king, he was actually a good, but unlucky and weak king.
John inherited many problems from his father, King Henry II, and brother, King Richard I, when he became king. The first problem was that of Philip II, King of France; he was the reason Richard I refused to marry Philip’s sister. Philip was very powerful, cunning, and rich and kept trying to attack England, but unfortunately for John, at the time he didn’t have enough money or soldiers to try and defeat Philip, consequently he continued losing all his battles. Therefore, he was nicknamed soft sword, however, it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t have enough soldiers or money; it was his father and his brother’s fault as they had invested the country’s wealth in wars and battles against France before John came to the throne.
A second problem was with Pope Innocent III. This issue was started during the reigns of John’s father and brother when they argued with the Pope over who should have the most power over England. The Pope thought that his position was more powerful and a sense of unease existed between England and Rome. John also disagreed with the Pope having ultimate power in England, but it was not a new idea but one inherited from his father and brother. During King…