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Medieval Law and the Foundations of the State - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Medieval Law and the Foundations of the State

Alan Harding


The state is the most powerful and contested of political ideas, both loved for its promise of order and hated for its threat of coercion. This book shows how the idea first emerged from medieval systems for the administration of justice and enforcement of peace. These provided new models of government from the centre, successfully in France and England, less so in Germany. The law courts and legislation of French and English kings are described establishing public order, defining rights to property and liberty, and structuring commonwealths by ‘estates’. In the final chapters it is shown how ... More

Keywords: state, king, justice, government, legislation, courts, rights, commonwealths, estates

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780198219583
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198219583.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alan Harding, author
Emeritus Professor of Medieval History and Honorary Fellow of History at the University of Liverpool and Honorary Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh