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1 - Introduction: From Roving to Stationary Judges

from Part I - The Origins of Representative Institutions: Power, Land, and Courts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 June 2021

Deborah Boucoyannis
Affiliation:
George Washington University, Washington DC
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Summary

This book argues that justice rather than taxes was at the foundation of representative governance. The historical origins of representative institutions are typically sought in a fiscal bargain that pitted resource-poor rulers against subjects recently empowered through the growth of commercial wealth. Such an approach, however, fails to explain why representative institutions would become regular (since taxation was irregular), how social groups solved their collective action problem in resisting the ruler, and how exchanges with resource holders extended to include the whole polity. Acknowedging the role of justice in the emergence of representative institutions allows us to address these concerns. This requires, however, first noting that outcomes of interest often originate in conditions that are inversely related. This is defined as the normative/empirical inversion and is examined in connection to the importance of central power, the constitutional separation of powers, and the security of property rights. In all, state power emerges as paramount in securing constitutional outcomes. The chapter thus also makes the case for England as a strong state. It then provides a summary of the argument and concludes with a discussion of the case selection.

Type
Chapter
Information
Kings as Judges
Power, Justice, and the Origins of Parliaments
, pp. 3 - 27
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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