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Title: Government and opposition : Initiative, reform and politics in the House of Commons, 1597-1610
Author: Munden, R. C.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1985
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This thesis represents an attempt to question the stress traditionally placed by accounts of the last Parliaments of Elizabeth I and the first of James I on political and constitutional change after 1603 and their association of that change with the emergence of an increasingly coherent and purposeful opposition in the House of Commons. It is divided into three sections. The first examines the evidence of continuity in Parliamentary affairs provided by the procedures of the Lower House, its personnel and their aspirations. As such, it emphasises the importance for MPs of their duty to represent (and be responsible to) the communities to which they belonged. The second section seeks to re-examine the Elizabethan 'norm' against which subsequent changes have been measured, suggesting that in 1597 and 1601 government leadership was neither as strong, nor opposition as inchoate, as has been implied and pointing to MPs' perception of their duties as representatives as instrumental in moderating the one and motivating the other. The third section, examines the evidence for explaining the conduct of business in James' first Parliament in terms of adversary politics and suggests that the evidence of conflict that emerges is less convincing than has often been suggested. In particular, it argues that most MPs were reluctant to follow the leadership of either official opinion or its critics and that the problems that did emerge had their origins less in any 'winning of the initiative' by an emergent opposition than in attempts on the part of Robert Cecil, and (to a lesser extent) James himself, to secure the commitment of MPs and thereby their constituents, to executive policies of which they were extremely suspicious; a course of action which encouraged inert resistance rather than overt opposition and generated politics that were more reactionary than revolutionary.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science