Front Page Titles (by Subject) 33.: England in the Late Middle Ages - Judgments on History and Historians
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33.: England in the Late Middle Ages - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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England in the Late Middle Ages
Here there takes place around the turn of the century an increase in the royal power approaching complete absolutism and at the same time an approximation to the European great state. This happens through a destructive fight among all descendants of Edward III and all their adherents in which the noble families are eradicated as well— a bloodletting of the nobility comparable to that of the Romans in the civil wars, under the Augustans, and up to Domitian. Furthermore, this absolutism is made possible by a specific talent for despotism on the part of the new royal house of Tudor. Only England-Wales acts, and every time the entire country. Ireland is not consulted and Scotland stands hostilely aloof most of the time.
Even though the political development up to that time had come about by fits and starts, it could be considered a major step forward in the parliamentary sphere.
From the thirteenth century the House of Commons had had firm and assured possession of the power to tax, and since Edward I had acquiesced in this, it remained in a continual insolent relationship to the crown. It took terrible events to make it lose this position. For prudent kings, and especially for those successful in war, it had hitherto been an easy matter to keep on friendly terms with it.
But on occasion the House of Lords was turbulent, as was the royal family itself (the Plantagenets) with its ambitious and mutinous princes who bore titles and had intermediate rule of large areas; but this was not hereditary and did not lead to the formation of secondary dynasties.
Twice it happened that factions among the Lords, headed by princes, wanted to force upon the king a jointly ruling commission which would relieve him of the government (Edward II and the Duke of Lancaster, Richard II and Thomas of Gloucester, later Bolingbroke). In each case, first a prince and then the king concerned meets his doom. But Parliament remains strong.
During all this there prevails the general assumption that in England things were done legally, and this semblance of legality was then dragged on through the bloodiest times, with tragicomic effect. Even the most palpable outrage comes with parchment and seal in its hands.
Hitherto the regulator has been the ups and downs of success in the Anglo-French Wars, with the participation of Scotland and Flanders and the great battles of Crécy, Maupertius, and Agincourt. Finally, in 1420, the personal union between the crowns of England and France is introduced through the Treaty of Troyes.
But after 1429 things go downhill, and Henry V has been dead since 1422, God having grown tired of being kind to the English.