The century in which Richelieu and Louis XIV fashioned an absolute dynastic state in France is noteworthy in English history for a very different reason. While the state was being set for Louis XIV to declare, if he wished, "I am the state," Englishmen were establishing the principle that all political authority is limited by law. This idea, which is called constitutionalism, was surely not new, having had its roots in English, feudal, and medieval history. But, what is profoundly significant for Western Civilization is that this idea became an operative political principle in late seventeenth century England. In the eighteenth century the English successfully devised a frame of government which preserved the gains which they had made earlier. [excerpt]
An excerpt from The Hafner Lobrary of Classics series has been removed due to copyright. An earlier printing of John Locke's Two Treatises of Government is available here.
This is the publisher's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Bloom, Robert L. et al. "5. The Rise of English Parliamentary Government (1603-1789). Pt IX: Early Modern Europe, 1500-1789." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 31-73.