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: 2016-12-08
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The history of Enlgand ... ()
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The history of England can be defined as the gradual process of

Parliament asserting its authority over the monarchy.


The political history of British Isles over the past 800 years has been

largely one of reducing the power of the monarchy and transferring

authority to a London-based Parliament as the sovereign legislative body

for all of Britain. This development has resulted in political, social

and religious conflicts, as well as evolving governmental and

constitutional institutions.


The early political history of the British Isles is the story of four

independent countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland), but a

dominant English political and military expansionism over the centuries

resulted in a united country (United Kingdom).


The last Englands invader Duke William promptly set out to establish

firm control over his English kingdom. He reorganized the government by

making the old Saxon witan into a Great Council, which included the

great lords of the realm and met regularly under Williams direction,

and by establishing Curia Regis, a permanent council of royal advisers.


Williams youngest son Henry I ruled the country for 35 years and during

his reign he won the support of barons by singing a Charter of

Liberties, which listed and guarantees their rights (individual



Early English monarchs had considerable power, but generally accepted

advice and some limitations on their authority. Powerful French-Norman

barons opposed King Johns dictatorial rule by forcing him to sign Magna

Carta in 1215. This document protected the feudal aristocracy rather

then the ordinary citizen, but it came to be regarded as a cornerstone

of British liberties. It restricted the monarchs powers; forced him to

take advice; increased the influence of the aristocracy; and stipulated

that no citizen could be punished or kept in prison without a fair



Such developments encouraged the establishment of parliamentary

structures. In 1265, Simon de Montfort called nobles and non-aristocrats

to form a Council or Parliament to win the support of people. To it were

invited not only the great barons and clergy, but also representatives

of the knights of shires and from the towns. This initiative was

followed in 1295 by the Model Parliament (because it served a model for

later Parliaments) of Edward I, which was the first representative

English Parliament. Its two sections consisted of the bishops, barons,

two representatives of the knights of each shire and two representatives

from each important town. In this way Parliament won the power of the

purse: by refusing to agree to new taxes, it could force kings to do as

it wished. As Parliament became more influential it won other rights,

such as the power of impeach and try royal officials for misbehavior.

From here we can conclude that by the end of Edwards reign the

peculiarly English concept of government, in which a strong king with

powerful royal officials is still limited by the common law and by

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