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The English Constitution

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  5 reviews
'An ancient and ever-altering constitution is like an old man who still wears with attached fondness clothes in the fashion of his youth: what you see of him is the same; what you do not see is wholly altered.' Walter Bagehot's The English Constitution (1867) is the best account of the history and working of the British political system ever written. As arguments raged in ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1867)
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Walter Bagehot (1826 - 1877) first wrote The English Constitution in a series of articles to the Fortnightly Review between May 1865 and January 1867. It was a turbulent period in British politics: the great barrier to reform, the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, died in October 1865, and thus opened the way for a realistic chance of enfranchising the working class. The Liberal MP W. E. Gladstone's somewhat modest Reform Bill failed to pass Parliament in 1866, and the Reform League's mass meeting ...more
A study of the English constitution from more than a century ago, yet is still a pertinent and interesting book today. The book is divided into essays on sections of the constitution and the government that it defines. The journalistic nature of the writing along with its high quality combine to make this a pleasant read. The political analysis is sharp and the opinions are timeless.
Used to be required reading amongst the British Royal family. Her Majesty Elizabeth II particularly devoted much time, at her father's request, to reading this book.
Much better than a dull textbook. This book reads like the Economist would, if the Economist was to describe the workings of the English Constitution. Just as well, as the author was the editor of that esteemed magazine. Obviously out of date (by at least 100 years) but it makes up for in readability what it lacks in precision.
Craig J.
The English Constitution (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) by Walter Bagehot (2001)
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Walter Bagehot was a British businessman, essayist, and journalist who wrote extensively about literature, government, and economic affairs.
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