The Government of England

The Government of England

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The Government of England

The Government of England

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Measured by the standards of duration, absence of violent commotions, maintenance of law and order, general prosperity and contentment of the people, and by the extent of its influence on the institutions and political thought of other lands, the English government has been one of the most remarkable the world has ever known. An attempt, therefore, to study it at any salient epoch cannot be valueless; and the present is a salient epoch, for the nation has now enjoyed something very near to manhood suffrage in the boroughs for forty years, and throughout the country more than twenty years, a period long enough for democracy to produce its primary if not its ultimate effects. Moreover, England has one of the most interesting of popular governments, because it has had a free development, little hampered by rigid constitutional devices. It is an organism constantly adapting itself to its environment, and hence in full harmony with national conditions. An endeavour has been made in these volumes to portray the present form of that organism and the forces which maintain its equilibrium.

In preparing a study of this kind one feels the need of limiting its scope, by reducing the denominator as Arthur Helps remarked. Hence the work covers only the English government as it stands to-day; and further, only those institutions, national and local, that have a general bearing. The British Constitution is full of exceptions, of local customs and special acts with which town clerks must be familiar. They fill the path of these men with pitfalls, but they do not affect seriously the general principles of the government, and no attempt is made to describe them here. Even the institutions of Scotland and Ireland . . .

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