The Model Parliament (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Model Parliament establishes an important precedent by joining the shire knights and town burgesses with the spiritual and temporal lords, resulting in the widest representation to that point in English parliamentary history.
Summary of Event
Political historians view the evolution of the English Parliament as one of the greatest legacies of the English Middle Ages to the theory and practice of representative democracy throughout the world. Parliament had its forerunners in both Anglo-Saxon and Norman traditions and practices. It was considered normal and necessary for feudal kings to rely on their barons for advice as well as for military aid. Usually kings turned to a small council of permanent advisers, a council comprising the chief barons of the realm and important ecclesiastics. There was a prevailing tension, however, between this small council of permanent advisers and the larger magnum councilium regis, or Great Council of peers of the realm, who felt more and more that they, too, had a right to be consulted on matters of policy that affected their own situation.
The English kings, particularly from the time of Henry II (1154-1189), found themselves increasingly involved in costly wars with France. To gain support for these wars, particularly financial support, the kings turned to the magnum councilium regis and also to lesser barons and burgesses who...
(The entire section is 1542 words.)
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