English Constitutional Documents since 1832

English Constitutional Documents since 1832

English Constitutional Documents since 1832

English Constitutional Documents since 1832

Excerpt

This book is supplementary to the well known and long used Adams and Stephens Select Documents of English Constitutional History which covers the period from 1066 to 1885.

It is not confined, however, to the period since 1885. It begins with 1832 and to that extent overlaps the last fifty-three years covered by Adams and Stephens. But this overlapping is no mere duplication of what they had done between 1832 and 1885. Some of the documents which they had included in their volume for that period have been left out of this one altogether, others have been abbreviated, and others considerably extended. More important, however, than the modifications in the documents brought over from Adams and Stephens are the many documents of that period that they could not include in their volume for lack of space and that are now published for the first time in source-book form. Moreover, most of the documents that have been selected for the period since 1885 are also made available to students for the first time within the covers of one volume.

The chief reason, however, for extending this book back to 1832 is that the period since that date, which is now just a little over a century in length, constitutes a well defined unit in English constitutional history that is almost unique. The main theme in that period is parliamentary reform, the great landmarks of which are the Acts of 1832, 1867, 1884, 1885, 1911, 1918, and 1928. The period is also noted for significant changes in the judiciary and the system of administration that occurred in practically every decade.

When this book was first projected the plan was to cover the fields of both central and local government since 1832. But that plan had soon to be abandoned. The great number of documents on both fields and the great length of many of them that could not be omitted or even abbreviated to any considerable extent made so ambitious a project impossible within the page limits set by the publishers. It was therefore deemed . . .

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