ROBERT HOWARD LORD
The late Professor Robert Howard Lord was born in 1885. He was a graduate student at Harvard, where he took a Ph.D. In 1910, writing The Second Partition of Poland, a book that has since remained a standard work on the problem. His Interest in diplomatic history led to several other books, including The Origins of the War of 1870 and Three Peace Conferences, written in co-operation with Charles D. Hazen and William Roscoe Thayer. Some Problems of the Peace Conference, written with Charles Homer Haskins, was representative of Lord's interest in the traditions of political freedom in Modern Europe, an interest also shown by the present paper, first presented as an address before the Catholic Historical Association, December 28, 1929.
It is generally agreed that one of the greatest achievements of the Middle Ages was the development of the representative system and of parliaments. It is largely, though perhaps not sufficiently, recognized that in the general scheme of the evolution of European states, between the age of feudalism and the era of absolute monarchy, there intervenes a period of what may be called parliamentary monarchy, of quasi-constitutionalism, of experiments -- practically for the first time in history -- with representative institutions. This period extends roughly from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century. The hallmark of it is the fact that the power of the crown was then more or less extensively limited by that of assemblies, in part elective, whose members, though directly and immediately representing only the politically active classes, were also regarded as representing in a general way the whole population of the land. But the historians who have treated of the representative institutions of this period have usually confined their studies to one or two or three countries. In America and Britain attention has been centered almost entirely on the English Parliament, the French States- General, or the Spanish Cortes. What has not been adequately recognized, in the first place, is the universality of the phenomenon. The fact is that class-parliaments or assemblies of estates arose not merely in the three kingdoms of the British Isles, but in all the realms of the Iberian peninsula, in France and all the French provinces, in the Holy Roman Empire and in nearly all the territorial states of Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, in the Scandinavian kingdoms, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, and Muscovy. Except for the municipal republics of Germany and Italy, where assemblies of estates were obviously out of the question, and the Balkan lands, where the Turkish conquest cut short the natural course of development, parliaments are found in this period in every state in Europe from Scotland to Hungary and from Portugal to Russia.
These hundreds of parliaments, national and provincial, ought to be studied comparatively, if we are ever to have an adequate conception of the constitutional de____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The New Monarchies and Representative Assemblies:Medieval Constitutionalism or Modern Absolutism?. Contributors: Arthur J. Slavin - Author. Publisher: D.C. Heath. Place of publication: Lexington, MA. Publication year: 1964. Page number: 67.
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