A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's by David Rollison

By David Rollison

In 1500 fewer than 3 million humans spoke English; this present day English audio system quantity no less than one billion around the globe. This booklet asks how and why a small island humans grew to become the nucleus of an empire 'on which the sunlight by no means set'. David Rollison argues that the 'English explosion' was once the end result of a protracted social revolution with roots deep within the medieval earlier. A succession of crises from the Norman Conquest to the English Revolution have been causal hyperlinks and chains of collective reminiscence in a distinct, vernacular, populist flow. The key-phrase of this lengthy revolution, 'commonwealth', has been principally invisible in conventional constitutional heritage. This panoramic synthesis of political, highbrow, social, cultural, spiritual, financial, literary and linguistic events bargains a 'new constitutional background' within which kingdom associations and gear elites have been subordinate and answerable to a better neighborhood that the early glossy English referred to as 'commonwealth' and we name 'society'.

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Extra resources for A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's Long Social Revolution, 1066-1649

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Thompson, Customs in Common (Harmondsworth 1993), 73, 94–5, described ‘a school experiment . . in which an electrical current magnetized a plate covered with iron filings. The filings, which were evenly distributed, arranged themselves at one pole or the other, while in between those filings which remained in place aligned themselves sketchily as if directed towards opposing attractive poles’. While stating that ‘the field of force metaphor’ does not supply ‘an instant analytical resource to unpick the meaning of every action’, he posited, as a general perspective, ‘the underlying polarity of power – the forces which pressed to enter upon and occupy any spaces which fell open when ruling groups came into conflict’.

Costard: ‘God dig-you-den all. 21 The ‘commonweal/th’ family of words entered the vocabulary of intellectual ‘counsellors’ after about 1450, was taken up by the Tudor state and by many theological and constitutional writers in the generations of William Tyndale and Sir Thomas Smith (roughly 1480–1580). 22 The terms had many meanings. Printed usages increase exponentially from the death of Sir Thomas Smith in 1583 to the civil wars of 1642–9, but this may be an illusion created by the survival of sources.

Michel Foucault: Power, Essential Works of Foucault 1954– 1984 (London 2002), 212–13 assumed, ‘schematically’, that ‘in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, the art of government finds its first form of crystallization, organised around the theme of reason of state’. ‘By the beginning of the fourteenth century, the word politicus . . had been squarely preempted for the republican regime . . ’ Sir John Fortescue’s application of the word to monarchical regimes ‘opens a new chapter .

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