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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter compares and contrasts the three parliaments of England, Scotland, and Ireland during the 1640s and 1650s. In 1640 these institutions formed part of the machinery of government by monarchy, and their relations with royal authority rested on unwritten constitutions. During the wars of the 1640s, however, they adapted radically, for example in England and Scotland by setting up an extensive network of powerful executive committees. Following the abolition of the monarchy in 1649, Ireland and Scotland were incorporated into a unitary republican state with England, and between 1653 and 1659 united British parliaments sat at Westminster, containing members from all three kingdoms, and regulated by the only two written constitutions in British history. When this republic collapsed in 1659–60 and the Stuart monarchy was restored, separate parliaments returned in each of the three kingdoms, but these were—to varying degrees—different from those that had existed in 1640.

Keywords: parliaments, constitutions, committees, monarchy, royal authority

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