The English Constitution

Front Cover
Cosimo, Inc., Apr 1, 2007 - History - 368 pages
2 Reviews
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Chronicling the past is much easier than chronicling the present, which was exactly Walter Bagehot's project when writing The English Constitution, first published in 1873. His ambitious undertaking was to describe the British government as it actually worked during 1865 and 1866. Government as it functions is very different from the government as it is spelled out on paper. Many factors, including the mindset of the people and the habits of those already in government, affect how a country is run. Political scientists and historians will find Bagehot's commentary on the living English government and invaluable tool in understanding the politics of the era. British journalist WALTER BAGEHOT (1826-1877) was an early editor of The Economist and was among the first economists to discuss the concept of the business cycle. He is also the author of Physics and Politics (1872) and The Postulates of English Political Economy (1885).
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Paul_S - LibraryThing

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. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - patito-de-hule - LibraryThing

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. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Ihtboddctios to thb Second Iditios
lix
Tins Cabihet
1
No II
33
The Monarchy
83
Tbr Housb or Lobds
89
Thk House m Commoks
130
No VI
176
Its Sowosid Checks ahd Balances
219
The PebBequisites of Cabinet Govebnment and
254
Copyright

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Page xxiii - But in all cases it must be remembered that a political combination of the lower classes, as such and for their own objects, is an evil of the first magnitude; that a permanent combination of them would make them (now that so many of them have the suffrage) supreme in the country; and that their supremacy, in the state they now are, means the supremacy of ignorance over instruction and of numbers over knowledge.
Page xxxviii - Oomnxanding-in-OMef downwards; she could dismiss all the sailors too; she could sell off all our ships of war and all our naval stores ; she could make a peace by the sacrifice of Cornwall, and begin a war for the conquest of Brittany. She could make every citizen in the United Kingdom, male or female, a peer; she could make every parish in the United Kingdom a " university ; " she could dismiss most of the civil servants ; she could pardon all offenders.
Page xxvii - Lords must yield whenever the opinion of the Commons is also the opinion of the nation, and when it is clear that the nation has made up its mind. Whether or not the nation has made up its mind is a question to be decided by all the circumstances of the case, and in the common way in which all practical questions are decided. There are some people who lay down a sort of mechanical test: they say the House of Lords should be at liberty to reject a measure passed by the Commons once or more, and then...

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