Parliament and Liberty from the Reign of Elizabeth to the English Civil War

Front Cover
Jack H. Hexter
Stanford University Press, 1992 - Political Science - 333 pages
The eight essays in this volume, the first in the series The Making of Modern Freedom, treat the evolution of English ideas of liberty from the end of the Elizabethan period up to the 1640's in the context of English constitutional and parliamentary history. The volume begins with a study by J. H. Hexter of the Humble Answer and the Apology of 1604, examining how the issues raised by a disputed election to the House of Commons expanded to a more general concern with the process by which monarchs had enhanced their powers at the cost of the liberty of their subjects. It shows that by the beginning of the seventeenth century, many Englishmen had come to see Parliament as an essential bulwark against assaults on their rights and freedoms. The next two essays pursue this growing identification of liberty with Parliament. Johann P. Sommerville demonstrates that the years leading up to the calling of the Long Parliament, a period of increasingly broad claims for royal authority, led to an aggressive defense of Parliament as the main recourse for protecting the liberties of subjects from royal encroachment.

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