LIMITED (CONSTITUTIONAL) MONARCHY
AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN ENGLAND
• A limited (constitutional) monarchy is a government headed by a monarch, but the monarchʼs power is defined and limited by law.
• What is the significance of the following documents / events?
• The Magna Carta
(a list of feudal rights that limited the power of King John during the Middle
Ages) – 1215
• The Petition of Right
(prohibited Charles I from raising taxes without Parliamentʼs consent or jailing anyone without legal justification) – 1628
• The Habeas Corpus Act
(Habeas corpus is the principle that no person can be held in prison without first being charged with a specific crime. The Habeas Corpus Act was passed during the rule of Charles II.) – 1670
• The Glorious Revolution
(the bloodless overthrow of James II [who had inherited the throne from his brother, Charles II] and the installation of William and Mary as monarchs) – 1688
Events associated with the Glorious Revolution:
• Parliament offered the throne to King William and Queen Mary.
• Catholic King James II fled England for France.
• Parliament agreed to joint rule with the monarch.
The Glorious Revolution influenced important political thinkers of the time, such as John Locke. Locke opposed absolute monarchy. His ideas were later used by leaders of the American Revolution as the basis for their struggle.
• The English Bill of Rights
(Before they could be crowned, Parliament had William and Mary agree to accept these acts that ensured the superiority of Parliament over the monarchy.) – 1689
ALL of these documents / events LIMITED THE POWER of the English monarchy. (They strengthened the principles of limited government.)