09.20h7a - 09.20.07 I II British constitution a Everything...

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09.20.07. I. British constitution a. Everything about political organization and political practice was in flux and a lot of changes in practice happened but very little of these changes were written down i. It was complicated b. In our politics the basic rules of the game are clear = Constitutions (at federal and state level which outline what government officials can and can’t do.) i. You can always get an authoritative version of the rules ii. Interpretation can be different but everyone uses the same words so there are limits to the degree of contestation. iii. This is what 18 th century Britain did not have c. Laws and some court decisions were written down but not all d. Constitution was not written down i. So how do you know what it is. ii. The Constitution is a set of practices and rules everyone follows —the customary ways in which institutions and officials deal with each other 1. What was the constitution in the middle of the 18 th century 2. Britain only became a constitutional monarchy at the end of the 17 th century 3. By the end of the 18 th century kings did agree on parliamentary leaders 4. 1668, Glorious Revolution in which King James II was overthrown…The king and queen who replaced James agreed to a degree of parliamentary supremacy. The degree increased over a time after that. 5. George III: there were other reasons to allow parliamentary supremacy … He was not especially educated and he figured the way to solve his problems was to let the parliament and politicians do whatever they want…so he can be above them rather than apart of them. The last thing he wanted was to be seen as a tyrant. 6. General point being British Constitution was an evolving set of rules, it changed slowly only in times of major crisis but everyone acted as if they knew what it said, this ambiguity became a political tool as during struggles for power the factions could argue that the constitution backed them. a. This is exactly what happened between GB’s gov and the colonists. II. Institutions – each colony had its own particular institutions, and importantly when you had fights between a particular colony and London, it would be
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between ONE COLONY and LONDON [ You didn’t have a UNIFIED colonial group fighting.] a. Governor i. Each colony its own government and laws… There were also differences in how land was held, who could vote, which offices were elected or appointed, there were basic similarities, all were part of the British empire and therefore dealt with the same overall government 1. Colonial side had a 3 tier structure: governor, council, and assembly 2. GB: King, house of lords, house of commons 3. The analogy was mirrors without being exactly the same 4. All laws past in London were subject to review in London… A lot of power in London WHEN the officials decided to use it.
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