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British Origins to American Government

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1 British Origins to American Government

2 History of English Government
Since 1066: System of feudalism. Form of political organization in which a lord gave land to other men in return for their allegiance & their services. Based on social class (Nobility, Vassals, Peasants) Feudalism was important in the development of constitutional government because of it’s ideas about contracts.

3 Rights of Englishmen Established slowly over the history of Britain.
Certain basic rights that all subjects of the English monarch were entitled to. These rights were fundamental and could NOT be changed. Right to Trial by Jury Protection from unlawful entry of one’s home. No taxation without representation.

4 English History in a nutshell
English history is the story of the bloody struggle for power. By 13th Century it was a struggle between royalty (king/queen) and Parliament. Parliament: a council of nobles created to advise the monarch, which then became a branch of government that represented the most powerful groups in the kingdom. For hundreds of years, Parliament and monarch struggled for power. English subjects were jailed, tortured, executed. To protect the rights of of Englishmen documents were written to limit the power of the monarch.

5 British Constitution British constitution did NOT exist before the creation of government. It is not a single written document, but made up of a combination of common law, acts of parliament, & political customs and traditions. Documents are important development of the British Constitution & the rights of the British people. Documents were written during time of great conflict. Magna Carta (1215) Petition of Rights (1628) English Bill of Rights (1689)

6 Importance of the Magna Carta
Government should be based on rule of law. Limited the power of the ruler. Guaranteed due process of law (trial by jury) Certain basic rights may not be denied by government. Rights of the governed could not be violated. Government should be based on an agreement between the ruler and the people to be ruled. Social Contract

7 How did parliamentary government in England begin?
Under feudal system English kings relied on councils to advise them (councils were known as parliaments). In 14th century: parliaments divided into two houses: House of Lords: represented the interests of the feudal nobility & major churchmen. House of Commons: represented the people who were not nobility but still possessed wealth & stature, including knights.

8 Development of Parliament
Kings of England found it an effective way to raise money from their subjects & a way to make important laws. English subjects found Parliament to be an effective way to voice their grievances to the monarch & limit/check his/her power. Eventually, Parliament became so important to English government that it was capable of challenging the king’s ability to act without support.

9 Petition of Right Ultimate power struggle in England’s government came to head in 17th century. Civil War Execution of King Charles 1 & James II Charles I: attempted to raise money without approval of parliament by requiring subjects to “quarter soldiers” 1628: Charles I forced to sign the Petition of Right Petition of Right: taxes could only be raised with the consent of Parliament. Prohibited quartering of soldiers. Strengthed the idea that British subjects enjoyed certain fundamental rights that no government could violate.

10 Writ of Habeas Corpus Habeas Corpus Act of 1678:
Parliament gained the right of the subjects to a legal document called writ of habeas corpus Writ of Habeas Corpus: orders government to deliver a person it has arrested to a court of law and an explanation as to why that person has been arrested and jailed. If government cannot provide evidence to show that a person has broken the law, the person must be set free.

11 English Bill of Rights 1689 Primary objective was to limit the power of the monarch by placing the dominant power of government to Parliament. Ideas from English Bill of Rights included in Declaration of Independence, Constitution & US Bill of Rights. Trial by jury Prohibits cruel & unusual punishment Right to petition government Right to bear arms

12 How does English Bill of Rights Differ from US Bill of Rights?
English Bill of Rights DOES NOT: Guarantee freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom on press. English Bill of Rights was ratified by Parliament & therefore could be changed. US Bill of Rights CANNOTt be amended! English Bill of Rights was intended to limit the power of the monarch & increase the power of the Parliament. US Bill of Rights is intended to prohibit federal government from violating individual rights of all people.

13 Similarities between English Bill of Rights & US Bill of Rights:
Rule of Law: Both government & the governed must obey the laws of the land. Parliamentary Supremacy: Parliamentary law is the highest law of the land. Government by contract & consent: Based on Locke’s idea of a social contract.

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