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British Political Thought in United Kingdom

British Political and Social Thought

Introduction to British Political Thought

By Isaac Kramnick (Historian):

Many of the central ideals of government that are taken for granted today have their origins in the traditions of British social and political thought. Respect for the rule of law and rejection of arbitrary and despotic authority are rooted in the English tradition. The parliamentary system of government that exists in many countries is a legacy of British political and social thought. Peaceful, evolutionary reform-as opposed to violent, revolutionary change-and respect for individual rights also derive in part from British political thought. Indeed, the basic notions of liberal and conservative stem from British tradition, as do the workings of politics and government in much of the world today.

The British model of parliamentary democracy has influenced many nations, including the United States. The thought behind this system of government began to take form during a particularly tumultuous period in British history: the English Revolution of 1640 to 1660. The seeds of the revolution were planted in the 16th century, when the monarchy and the British Parliament competed for political authority. During that period a fundamental transformation occurred: Thinkers began to challenge the very assumptions and ideals underlying British government. At the beginning of the 16th century, the ruling ideas in England were those of the nobility who held the view that they were God’s agents on Earth. Since their power over common people derived from God, the resulting political and social inequality was, in effect, divinely ordained.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about British Political Thought in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to British Political Thought

    British Political and Social Thought: Conclusion

    Introduction to British Political Thought

    The crisis of the 16th century served as a catalyst for a reconsideration of the role of the individual in society and government. Over time, the British political system and society evolved and incorporated elements of the various strains of thought that emerged. The result was a complex but highly flexible and stable government and society. Nations around the world have followed the British model in shaping their parliamentary governments and constitutions.

    About the author: Isaac Kramnick is the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is the author of several books including The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness (1996).” (1)


    Notes and References

  • Information about British Political Thought in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to British Political Thought

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: British Political Thought
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: British Political and Social Thought Introduction to British Political Thought By Isaac Kramnick (Historian): Many of the [...]

    This entry was last updated: August 24, 2014


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