Item request has been placed! ×
Item request cannot be made. ×
loading   Processing Request
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      This article focuses on the political history of medieval England from the Norman conquest to the Hundred Years War using a rational choice model of the origins of democracy. The Norman conquest of England, the signing of the Magna Carta, and the development of the English parliament are widely recognized as among the most significant events in the political history of the West. The early unity and centralization of the English state was directly promoted by the conquest. The Magna Carta shaped the contours of political debate and action in England for centuries and served as a model for the constitutions of other countries. The English parliament was the strongest and most enduring of medieval legislative assemblies and had a lasting influence on state policy. A rational choice theoretical model of the origins of democracy and insights from other rational choice work on politics is used to analyze the transformation of the English state between the Norman conquest and the Hundred Years War. The theory is applied to three aspects of English history: the Norman conquest and its immediate aftermath; the formation and transformation of contracts between rulers and subjects after the conquest; and the evolution of an independent judicial system. The major historical trends in this period of the evolution of democracy conform well to the theory.