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The English Constitution (1867)

af Walter Bagehot

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527746,433 (3.77)9
Walter Bagehot's anatomy of The English Constitution is a classic of English political writing. In this new Cambridge Texts edition it appears for the first time in its original (1867) book version, with Bagehot's original conclusion, and the substantial introduction written for the second edition of 1872. Paul Smith's introduction places Bagehot's views in the context of contemporary events and prevalent views of the working of the constitution, indicating their relation to his developing ideas on the anthropological and sociological springs of authority. He assesses the accuracy of Bagehot's account of parliamentary government in operation, and the strength of Bagehot's analysis of the difficulties faced by British liberalism in coming to terms with the approach of democracy. All the usual student-friendly features of the Cambridge Texts series are present, including a select bibliography and brief biographies of key figures, and annotation which explains some of Bagehot's more arcane contemporary allusions.… (mere)
  1. 20
    The Constitution of England af Jean Louis de Lolme (patito-de-hule)
    patito-de-hule: de Lolme's work was written in the 18th Century and is a classic on the subject. It is more philosophical than Bagehot's work, showing how the English Constitution is better than other European Constitutions. Bagehot's work is more descriptive of the English Constitution and compares it with the United States Constitution.… (mere)
  2. 00
    Phineas Finn af Anthony Trollope (thorold)
    thorold: Parliament at the time of the 1867 Reform Act: in fact and fiction
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Today most English people know nothing about their Constitution the Americans know more about it and this is not by accident.
Even with the title clearly spelled out reviewers here will still mention the British Constitution which does not and has never existed.
Our ENGLISH CONSTITUTION has been deliberately suppressed and subverted, having done my LLB you should not be surprised to learn that we were not taught about the English Constitution but the UK Constitution. The UK is a corporate legal entity and when I pray the UK is dissolved the so-called UK constitution turns to dust England will be here until the eschaton.
For the record England shares its Constitution with the Welsh and Scotland has its very own constitution.
As for Bagehot's take on our English Constitution I disagree with him on some key points. Parliament has never been Sovereign neither is it Supreme that puts it above the Law.
On the 8th March 1784 after a six month debate Parliament voted on the question of sovereignty and decided in its then wisdom that sovereignty rest with the Monarch who is the guardian of it.
As for Supremacy the 13th century Jurist Henry de Bracton pointed out that the Law makes the King and Parliament came about through the King's travelling court so it to as must the King be obedient to and subservient to the Laws of England. They are our Constitutional Laws that every Monarch swears to uphold when they take the oath to their subjects. ( )
  Arten60 | Dec 17, 2023 |
2/9/23
  laplantelibrary | Feb 9, 2023 |
Politics have not changed much since the 19th century. The main difference is that now elites hide their fear and contempt of the lower class. My insecurities aside, insightful essays that remain relevant. ( )
  Paul_S | Apr 3, 2021 |
The classic on British politics in the mid-Victorian period, originally published in 1867 on the eve of the Great Reform Act, and re-issued five years later with an introductory essay speculating about the consequences of enfranchising working-class men — "We have in a great community like England crowds of people scarcely more civilised than the majority of two thousand years ago..." (He goes on to encourage any reader who doubts his view of the lower classes to go down to the kitchen and try out a few abstract ideas on the housemaid and footman.)

Apart from Bagehot's touching — and almost certainly misplaced — faith in the deference and ignorance of the lower orders, this is a fascinating and very convincing analysis of what made the British constitution work, enlivened by constant sniping at the failings of the American and French systems and the frailties of monarchs. At the core of his argument is the strength of the cabinet system, in which the executive is appointed — and dismissed — by the legislature from among its own members. A lot of what he says looks remarkably prescient: in his discussion of the House of Lords and the power to create new peers, he certainly anticipated the budget crisis of 1909-1911 and the Parliament Act. He's also a strong supporter of life peerages (not to be realised until 1958) and a firm critic of the hereditary principle: he even hints, thirty years before Queen Victoria died, that the then Prince of Wales (Edward VII) is already doomed to be a useless king. (Plus ça change....)

This is clearly the Liberal side of Victorian Britain: Bagehot came from a banking and shipping family, and was a graduate of the determinedly secular UCL, a fan of people like John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin. An entertaining read, and interesting background to Trollope's Palliser novels, which also span the 1867 watershed. ( )
  thorold | May 23, 2012 |
Walter Bagehot was editor of the Economist and his name is still on the weekly page about England. This book describes the English Constitution and compares it favorably with the United States Constitution. ( )
  patito-de-hule | Dec 22, 2008 |
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Walter Bagehotprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Balfour, ArthurIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Crossman, R.H.S.Introduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Giusti, GeorgeOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Standring, HeatherOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Taylor, MilesRedaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Walter Bagehot's anatomy of The English Constitution is a classic of English political writing. In this new Cambridge Texts edition it appears for the first time in its original (1867) book version, with Bagehot's original conclusion, and the substantial introduction written for the second edition of 1872. Paul Smith's introduction places Bagehot's views in the context of contemporary events and prevalent views of the working of the constitution, indicating their relation to his developing ideas on the anthropological and sociological springs of authority. He assesses the accuracy of Bagehot's account of parliamentary government in operation, and the strength of Bagehot's analysis of the difficulties faced by British liberalism in coming to terms with the approach of democracy. All the usual student-friendly features of the Cambridge Texts series are present, including a select bibliography and brief biographies of key figures, and annotation which explains some of Bagehot's more arcane contemporary allusions.

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