When: Thursdays, Oct 10 – 31, 1:30-3:30pm
Where: The Hampton Inn
Cost: $120.00 for 4 session(s)
Instructor: Richard A. Cosgrove Ph.D University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society is the author of The Rule of Law
The Parliament of the United Kingdom has remote origins that stretch back into British history. It has evolved over the centuries into the governing body of the UK, regarded as the mother of parliaments. The institution has become a primary identifier of national identity, one that now considers all aspects of British life. The history of Parliament is in many ways the history of the United Kingdom itself.
Week 1: Medieval Origins
Parliament originated from the tensions within feudal relationships. Norman bodies such as the curia regis and the magnum concilium were forerunners of parliamentary development as was the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215. By the middle of the 13th century English society had started the long road to the 21st century parliament.
Week 2: Early Modern Parliaments
In the 15th and 16th centuries Parliament cemented its position as a fundamental part of the constitution. But what exactly did it do? Were its functions political, administrative, military, judicial or legislative? The Tudors (1485-1603) attempted to make Parliament ‘a creature of the monarch’, a role increasingly resented by members.
Week 3: The Sovereignty of Parliament
The Stuart century (1603-1714) settled once and for all who was to govern: the king or Parliament. The ‘struggle for the constitution’ resulted in turmoil that eventually led to the English Civil war (1642-1660) when both the monarchy and Parliament disappeared. The Restoration (1660-1688) restored the crown’s power until the Glorious Revolution (1688-89) settled the question for good. Parliamentary sovereignty became the centerpiece of the modern British constitution.
Week 4: The Modern Parliament
Since 1689 Parliament has gradually established its place as the key institution of the modern constitution. The greatest accomplishment occurred when Parliament obtained the power to tell the monarchs what he/she must do supplanting its original authority of simply telling the monarch what he/she could not do. The EU and Brexit is simply the latest in a long line of issues that Parliament must resolve.