Towards Breakdown: ‘New Counsels’ and the Dissolution of Consensus



Gradually after 1625, under the impact of a king who operated very differently from his predecessor, the pattern of English political discourse began to alter. Whereas in the Jacobean period the three chief modes of political discourse were of clearly recognized compass and incorporated into a coherent overall framework (albeit one with some tensions within it), Caroline England saw the development of implicit disagreement about the scope of the three modes, which disagreement ultimately threatened the framework itself. For our purposes the most significant aspect of this process was a crisis in the confidence which people were able to repose in the common law. A consequence of this was the dissolution of that mentalité which has been referred to as ‘the common law mind’.


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© Glenn Burgess 1992

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