Building an Even More Modern State:

Constitutionalism and the English “Revolution”, 1215-1688


Execution of Charles I

Lord Protector Cromwell

William and Mary


Š     What is constitutional government?  How does it function?  What forms does it take?

Š     How did England develop a “constitution” before 1600?  What kind of constitution is it?

Š     What were the origins of the civil war and revolution in England?  How did it change the English political system?


Key Terms

1) Constitutionalism              6) The Long Parliament

2) John Locke               7) Oliver Cromwell

3) James I                     8) William and Mary

4) Charles I                   9) Glorious Revolution

5) Petition of Right        10) Bill of Rights


I.  Constitutionalism:  Definition, Forms, and Theory


Š     "Government by Law"


Š     Monarchy or Republic vs. Democracy


Š     Consent of the governed?


Š     Written Constitutions vs. Traditions & Precedents


Š     John Locke (1632-1704):  The Greatest Political Philosopher of Modern Western History?

o  Reason, Natural Law, Individualism, Freedom, and Government

o  Second Treatise on Government (1690)


Š     The Continued Growth of Centralized Power



II.  The Origins and Growth of English Constitutionalism, 1066-1601


Š     Strong Feudal Monarchy, 1066-1215


Š     King John and the Magna Carta, 1215:  Rights of the Barons


Š     The Development of Parliament


o  House of Lords and House of Commons (1297)


Š     The Nature of the English Constitution:  Laws, Precedents, and Royal Power


Š     The Tudor Monarchs:  Ruling with Parliament


o  Henry VII, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I


o  The Gentry, Middle Classes, and Calvinism


o  The Spanish Armada (1588) and the Rise of English Power


III.  The Origins and Course of the English Civil War & Revolution, 1601-1689


The Stuart Kings and Parliament


o  James I (1601-1625):  True Law of Free Monarchies


o  Charles I (1625-1648)


o  The Petition of Right (1629)


o  Charles' Absolutist Experiment (1629-1640) and Puritan Resistance


The English Civil War


o  Rebellion in Scotland (1640):  The Presbyterian Scots


o  The "Long Parliament" (1640-1653) and the Execution of Charles


o  Civil War:  Oliver Cromwell and the "New Model Army"


o  Radicalization (The Levelers)


o  Cromwell's Puritan Dictatorship (1653-1658): Lord Protector

o  Cromwell’s Head 2


Restoration and the "Glorious Revolution"


o  Charles II (1660-1685) and Parliament


o  James II (1685-1688):  Catholic Threat and Louis XIV


§  The Glorious Revolution (1688-1689):  William and Mary of Orange


§  The "Bill of Rights" (1689) and the Triumph Constitutional Monarchy



Why England?  "Revolution" or "Evolution"?


              1) Institutions and Traditions

              2) Social and Economic Foundations

              3) Puritanism


1700-1830:  Toward Modern Parliamentary Government