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The Origins of the English Parliament, 924-1327$
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J. R. Maddicott

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585502.001.0001

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English Exceptionalism?

English Exceptionalism?

The Peculiarities of the English Parliament. Conclusion

(p.376) 7 English Exceptionalism?
The Origins of the English Parliament, 924-1327

J. R. Maddicott (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the extent to which the English parliament both resembled and, more particularly, differed from the assemblies of continental Europe, notably those of France. It uses continental comparisons to draw out and enlarge on some of the main themes treated in the preceding chapters. It shows that much of parliament's peculiar evolution can be traced back to its Anglo‐Saxon origins and to the peculiarities of English political society, where the nobility's lack of privilege, notably their inability to escape taxation, provided a common platform for their association with other political groups. A second theme of this chapter lies in the extent to which parliament developed as a popular assembly, where policies could be publicly announced and transmitted to the localities and where redress of popular grievances could be sought. In both these respects parliament differed from its continental counterparts, giving some considerable substance to the ancient notion of ‘English exceptionalism’.

Keywords:   France, continental assemblies, privilege, English exceptionalism, political society, taxation, redress of grievances

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