The Politics of the Ancient Constitution: An Introduction to by Glenn Burgess

By Glenn Burgess

The occasions of the years 1600–1642 were argued over intensively via historians. imperative to those arguments has been a look for the reasons of the English Revolution. Many contemporary historians have denied that the Revolution had any long term explanations, and so they have began to work out the interval ahead of 1642 in its personal phrases. those historians have prompt that earlier than the 1640s English politics used to be in accordance with consensus instead of clash or competition.

Glenn Burgess examines the results of those fresh revisions of the early Stuart interval for the historical past of political inspiration. This e-book is essentially a research of the political rules of universal lawyers—the ideology of the "Ancient Constitution"—and seems to be heavily on the principles of such males as Sir Edward Coke and John Selden. in this Dr. Burgess builds a common interpretation of early Stuart political concept.

He argues that sooner than 1625 ideological consensus was once maintained in England, no longer simply because every person agreed with every body else, nor simply because there has been no clash over concerns of precept, yet simply because there have been agreed conventions that held jointly likely contradictory political theories. Burgess examines the background of political proposal relating to expert groups—civil and customary legal professionals, and clerics, primarily—and by way of the specific discourses they produced. After 1625 the bounds among their discourses started to dissolve and political disputes turned extra threatening to the nation's balance.

Through this technique, Burgess is ready to express why it was once interval of "ideological consensus" was once additionally a interval of sour political conflict.

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Extra resources for The Politics of the Ancient Constitution: An Introduction to English Political Thought, 1603–1642

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Rather it was derived from a widely-shared Aristotelian maxim of political prudence. Only if we assume beforehand that Davies held simple Fortescuean beliefs about the antiquity of the law does it look like anything else. Coke, who did gesture towards such beliefs, was a different matter, and seems (at times) to have wanted to convey the impression that English law had, in some ways, remained unaltered time out of mind. the consequences of these points. It will stress Coke's eccentricity and untypicality and demonstrate that the jurisprudence of the common lawyers involved a view of the history of law incompatible with that of Fortescue.

We have already seen that Bacon took rather a high view of the capacity of statute to alter even the most fundamental laws of the land, and indeed this accords with the traditional interpretations of Bacon's thought which tend to stress his impatience with lawyers and the law and his willingness to allow strict legality to be overridden in the interests of the state. 17 Yet, whatever his theoretical appreciation of the possibilities and legitimacy of legal change, Bacon shared with Coke, and just about everybody else, the view that such change is often dangerous.

The other maxymes and customes of the lawe that be not so openly knowen amonge the people may be knowen partly by the lawe of reason: & partly by the bokes of the lawis of Englande called yeres of termes/& partly by dyuers recordis remaynynge in the kynges courtes & in his tresorye. 45 Thus, there were some customs whose observation. was secondnature to the people, and the universality of the assent given to them was sufficient in itself to provide knowledge of them: they were, therefore, jus non scriptum in its purest form.

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