English Parliamentary System - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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End of Roman society, feudalism, rise of religious power, beginnings of the nation-state, renaissance (476 - 1492 CE).
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Many like to credit England with being the leading country in the development of parliamentary democracy. It seems to have developed as a result of the signing of the magna carta in 1215. However before this there were other councils.

1. Was the development of parliament unavoidable or could a strong king have potentially destroyed any forces which tried to create one?

2. Why did this system not develop elsewhere?
Magna Carta was more a step in the direction of a parliamentary system rather than the pivotal point. It was notable in that it gave the council an important veto essentially, but in terms of its size, representation etc. it probably wasn't that great a break.

Political Interest wrote:1. Was the development of parliament unavoidable or could a strong king have potentially destroyed any forces which tried to create one?

Inevitably when you really need something from someone, you have to give them something (and that might very well be decision making powers) in return or they can withhold what you want. The monarchy wanted money, and parliament was in part representative of the people most likely to give the monarch that money. He couldn't really cut them out forever, and money can't always be gotten with force.

Political Interest wrote:2. Why did this system not develop elsewhere?

I'm guessing its a whole bunch of reasons, varying from country to country
- The monarch may have found some other way to making a deal without having to make as serious a compromise (devolution of power within the feudal structure, a better 'cut' of the tax pie etc.).
- The monarch might have been able to forge a sufficiently strong alliance (or system of dependence) that there was no serious challenge to their power. So instead of just the king vs. the barons, its the king and his barons and anyone who needs protection against the rest.
- For whatever reason you could have a structure (probably economic, but social or political considerations might be important too) where the centre is always stronger than any external challenger, so no one can force a compromise.
- Effective monarchy. If the monarch doesn't annoy people enough and does a good job, then there isn't a lot of incentive to hamstring them or replace them.
Well the Anglo-Saxons had the Witangemot. So it's not
a totally new institution, it was always there.

And since all power centers have rivalries with eachother,
yes; it was inevitable that the members would want to
be able to overrule the king.

A king is only one person, can't be everywhere. Can't be
expected to know or understand everything, the nobles &
commoners can know more than he, etc.
The Norman kings instituted a wide number of laws designed to help them establish and consolidate their control. This was either through the traditional "feudal" model or through the establishment of country wide practices. Before the conquest England was a very disjointed kingdom with areas such as Wessex and Mercia, and going further back the Danelaw. The Norman kings created more wide ranging and comprehensive laws. Magna Carta arguably only restated laws that had even allowed to fall by the wayside and reestablish the status qou.

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