Rootless parliaments

March 12 2009

In the English-inspired revivals of a Medieval Western Parliamentarism in Late Modern Continental European Western countries, beginning with the reconvocation of the States General in France in A.D. 1789, there was a vein of academic artificiality which betrayed itself in France in the successive collapses of parliamentary government in A.D. 1799, A.D. 1852, and A.D. 1940; in Germany in the fiasco of “the Revolution of the Intellectuals” in A.D. 1848, in the discomfiture of the Prussian Liberals by Bismarck in A.D. 1862-3, and in the collapse of the Weimar régime in A.D. 1933; and in Italy in the de facto liquidation, in A.D. 1922, of the Sardinian constitution of A.D. 1848. “The Frankfort Parliament was a highly academic assembly – it contained 49 university professors and lecturers, and 57 schoolmasters, and at least three-fourths of its members had been to a university” (Namier, L. B.: The Revolution of the Intellectuals (London 1944, Cumberlege), p. 86, n. 1).

A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954 (footnote)

2 Responses to “Rootless parliaments”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Is is fair to speak of an academic artificiality in relation to France? Compared with deeply-rooted English parliamentary traditions, perhaps. In constitutional terms, the Third Republic’s legislature was too powerful and its executive was weak. But powerful did not mean well-established.


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