The English Constitution

Cosimo, Inc., 2007 M04 1 - 368 páginas
Chronicling the past is much easier than chronicling the present, which was exactly Walter Bagehot's project when writing The English Constitution, first published in 1873. His ambitious undertaking was to describe the British government as it actually worked during 1865 and 1866. Government as it functions is very different from the government as it is spelled out on paper. Many factors, including the mindset of the people and the habits of those already in government, affect how a country is run. Political scientists and historians will find Bagehot's commentary on the living English government and invaluable tool in understanding the politics of the era. British journalist WALTER BAGEHOT (1826-1877) was an early editor of The Economist and was among the first economists to discuss the concept of the business cycle. He is also the author of Physics and Politics (1872) and The Postulates of English Political Economy (1885).

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Página 75 - Secondly, having once given her sanction to a measure, that it be not arbitrarily altered or modified by the Minister. Such an act she must consider as failing in sincerity towards the Crown, and justly to be visited by the exercise of her constitutional right of dismissing that Minister.
Página xxxix - Commanding-in-Chief downwards ; she could dismiss all the sailors too ; she could sell off all our ships of war and all our naval stores ; she could make a peace by the sacrifice of Cornwall, and begin a war for the conquest of Brittany. She could make every citizen in the United Kingdom, male or female, a peer ; she could make every parish in the United Kingdom a " university ;" she could dismiss most of the civil servants ; she could pardon all offenders.
Página 76 - To state the matter shortly, the sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy such as ours, three rights — the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn.
Página 11 - The efficient secret of the English Constitution may be described as the close union, the nearly complete fusion, of the executive and legislative powers.
Página xxiv - But in all cases it must be remembered that a political combination of the lower classes, as such and for their own objects, is an evil of the first magnitude; that a permanent combination of them would make them (now that so many of them have the suffrage) supreme in the country; and that their supremacy, in the state they now are, means the supremacy of ignorance over instruction and of numbers over knowledge.
Página 34 - The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation -of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know, and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas : anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, " Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?
Página 15 - A cabinet is a combining committee — a hyphen which joins, a buckle which fastens, the legislative part of the state to the executive part of the state.
Página 138 - Commons - now that it is the true sovereign, and appoints the real executive - has long ceased to be the checking, sparing, economical body it once was. It now is more apt to spend money than the minister of the day. I have heard a very experienced financier say, 'If you want to raise a certain cheer in the House of Commons make a general panegyric on economy; if you want to invite a sure defeat, propose a particular saving.
Página 143 - Efficiency in an assembly requires a solid mass of steady votes; and these are collected by a deferential attachment to particular men, or by a belief in the principles those men represent, and they are maintained by fear of those men— by the fear that if you vote against them, you may yourself soon not have a vote at all.

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