A Brief History of Constitutional Theory in Britain

The Cambridge Constitutional History of the United Kingdom (Cambridge UP, Forthcoming)

36 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2020

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

This paper surveys the development of constitutional theory in England, and later Britain, from the Twelfth Century until today. It shows how contending theories attempted to reconcile the need for strong central authority to maintain order and justice, with the need to control that authority - either through law or political struggle - to prevent its misuse. It describes a gradual transition from theories of monarchical rule to those of mixed government and finally parliamentary democracy, and how they understood the place or role of the Church, the law, “the community” and “the people”.

Keywords: History of Constitutional Theory, Legal Philosophy, Monarchy, Parliament, Mixed Government, Sovereignty

JEL Classification: K4

Suggested Citation

Goldsworthy, Jeffrey Denys, A Brief History of Constitutional Theory in Britain (2020). The Cambridge Constitutional History of the United Kingdom (Cambridge UP, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3682882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3682882

Jeffrey Denys Goldsworthy (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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