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The English Constitution
Oxford World's Classics
'An ancient and ever-altering constitution is like an old man who still wears with attached fondness clothes in the fashion of his youth: what you see of him is the same; what you do not see is wholly altered.'
Walter Bagehot's The English Constitution (1867) is the best account of the history and working of the British political system ever written. As arguments raged in mid-Victorian Britain about giving the working man the vote, and democracies overseas were pitched into despotism and civil war, Bagehot took a long, cool look at the 'dignified' and 'efficient' elements which made the English system the envy of the world. His analysis of the monarchy, the role of the prime minister and
cabinet, and comparisons with the American presidential system are astute and timeless, and pertinent to current discussions surrounding devolution and electoral reform.
Combining the wit and panache of a journalist with the wisdom of a man of letters steeped in evolutionary ideas and historical knowledge, Bagehot produced a book which is always thoughtful, often funny, and seldom dull.
This edition reproduces Bagehot's original 1867 work in full, and introduces the reader to the dramatic political events that surrounded its publication.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
I can still recall the excitement as a student in discoering a book that analysed how our political system worked. Dated it may be; worth reading it remains. * Mervyn King, Waitrose Weekend *