Consent, Coercion, and Limit

Consent, Coercion, and Limit: The Medieval Origins of Parliamentary Democracy

Arthur P. Monahan
Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 368
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    Consent, Coercion, and Limit
    Book Description:

    In addition, he deals with the development of these concepts in Roman and canon law and in the practices of the emerging states of France and England and the Italian city-states, as well as considering works in legal and administrative theory and constitutional documents. In each case his interpretations are placed in the wider contexts of developments in law, church, and administrative reform. The result is the first complete study of these three crucial terms as used in the Middle Ages, as well as an excellent summary of work done in a number of specialized fields over the last twenty-five years.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6406-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xx)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-15)

    An effort to provide a comprehensive account of the concepts of consent and coercion as employed and understood in medieval political thought is a sufficiently ambitious task as perhaps to have its goal seem foolish, if not unattainable. The quantity of available material is vast and varied;¹ and the areas of relevant and distinguishable expertise, what might be called the topology of the subject, are sufficiently diffuse to daunt even the most foolhardy. The effort can have considerable value nonetheless. It is a truism that those who ignore or forget their history are in large measure doomed to repeat it,...

  6. PART ONE The Early Medieval Period
    (pp. 16-56)

    In addition to what might be called the particular ambiance of other-worldliness reflected generally in Christian doctrine and derivative directly from the Christian Scriptures, there are individual biblical texts that exhibit a definite attitude towards political matters, if not some form of political thought itself. These texts can be expected to exert an important influence on the thinking of any Christian, for whom their contents in some sense have the authority of divine revelation. The Scriptures possessed an authority that simply could not be gainsaid by a Christian; their contents were accepted as truth, guaranteed by God Himself. Thereby, they...

  7. PART TWO The Twelfth Century
    (pp. 57-96)

    In the twelfth century one has moved into a much more differentiated set of socio-political conditions than those of the earlier medieval period. Larger-scale political stability occurred more frequently and on a broader geographical scene as efforts got under way towards the centralizing of political authority that was to produce the modern nations of Europe, especially England and France. The conquering Normans had held England since the third quarter of the eleventh century, and were extending royal control across much of the central island. The Capetian dynasty had established itself about the same time in the roughly geographical northern centre...

  8. PART THREE The Thirteenth Century
    (pp. 97-205)

    Gratian’sDecretumis only the first example we have seen of the literary products illustrating the growing sophistication in both forms of the law that began to develop in the twelfth century. This development continued apace throughout the next century as well, and had a major influence on the emergence of specific forms of juridical and political structures, especially in England, France, and the city-states of northern Italy.

    New political and legal issues and problems emerged as the increasing complexities of both church and state, and of the relations between the two, reflected the centralizing activities of both ecclesiastical and...

  9. PART FOUR The Fourteenth Century
    (pp. 206-253)

    The first representative of fourteenth-century political theorists will be considered briefly, because there is little of theoretical or doctrinal interest in his position. Nonetheless, the significance of the political views of Dante Alighieri is not negligible; for they illustrate the traditional medieval approach to popular consent in a particularly concrete and unreflective manner unique among other medieval thinkers. Of course, Dante was not primarily a political theorist, nor was he a medieval academic, as in some sense were most of the other writers examined. Dante was a poet of genius and an impassioned advocate of strongly held and changing personal...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 254-264)

    There is no need to review or summarize the data showing medieval interest in the concepts of consent, coercion, and limit. Several points deserve mention, however, in bringing this investigation to a close. History is a continuum exhibiting few if any gaps in its intellectual fabric, and fewer genuinely creative and novel concepts in the identification and elaboration of basic social forms and institutions. Primordial notions tend to appear early in political theory as basic building blocks for later and more elaborate rational constructions. Often expressed originally in lapidary form, they tend to persist even as they undergo a variety...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-326)
  12. Index
    (pp. 327-345)