The People and the Constitution: Being a History of the Development of the People's Influence in British Government

The People and the Constitution: Being a History of the Development of the People's Influence in British Government

The People and the Constitution: Being a History of the Development of the People's Influence in British Government

The People and the Constitution: Being a History of the Development of the People's Influence in British Government

Excerpt

The issue of a new edition has enabled me to bring this book up to date. I have added a considerable amount of new matter; and, at the same time, occasional abridgement has proved desirable. Several modifications in the sub-headings of the chapters are intended to facilitate the book's usefulness.

For some time now the two-party system has been once more operative, with consequent improvement in the outlook for our democracy. In certain respects, however, the recent history of the people's influence on government has been disappointing. I have included some remarks on these developments; and I hope that this edition may help to attract increased attention to a subject which is vital to the cause of freedom in this country. C. S. E.

PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION

DURING recent years the people have acquired a new status in the sphere of politics. They have become a deciding factor in the choice of Ministries; and their 'mandate' is said to be necessary for important changes in national policy. Now that the entire body of citizens may be regarded as having been admitted to a share in the control of public affairs, it seems proper to enlarge the scope allowed to writers on constitutional history.

In the present attempt to trace the development of the people's part in English government, I have preferred to divide the chapters of the book into subjects rather than periods. I trust that any disadvantages that some recapitulation and discontinuity may involve will be thought to be outweighted by advantages.

There was an obvious inducement to adopt a middle course. A turning-point in the constitutional history of the people occurred just a hundred years ago; and it would not have been altogether impracticable to have divided the book into two periods, that which led up to the great Reform Bill . . .

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