Download Bagehot: The English Constitution by Walter Bagehot PDF

By Walter Bagehot

ISBN-10: 0521465354

ISBN-13: 9780521465359

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Extra resources for Bagehot: The English Constitution

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Secondly, it is insisted that the peculiar excellence of the British Constitution lies in a balanced union of three powers. It is said that the monarchical element, the aristocratic element, and the democratic element, have each a share in the supreme sovereignty, and that the assent of all three is necessary to the action of that sovereignty. Kings, lords, and commons, by this theory, are alleged to be not only the outward form, but the inner moving essence, the vitality of the constitution. A great theory, called the theory of ‘Checks and Balances’, pervades an immense part of political literature, and much of it is collected from or supported by English experience.

And, to the effectual maintenance of such a separation, the exclusion of the President’s ministers from the legislature is essential. If they are not excluded they become the executive, they eclipse the President himself. A legislative chamber is greedy and covetous; it acquires as much, it concedes as little as possible. The passions of its members are its rulers; the law-making faculty, the most comprehensive of the imperial faculties, is  The Cabinet its instrument; it will take the administration if it can take it.

There are, however, substantial reasons for preferring the first. Readers of the second edition must be surprised by the abruptness with which it ends: there is no conclusion. The reason is that the second edition silently discards the closing seventeen pages of the first without putting anything in their place. One may guess that Bagehot thought them too closely related to the particular circumstances of the xxx    Advertisement These essays appeared in the Fortnightly Review at various times between the spring of  and the first month of this year.

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