Front Page Titles (by Subject) 95.: England Before the First Revolution - Judgments on History and Historians
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95.: England Before the First Revolution - 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 Before the First Revolution
The crown was not by any means so much the only support of the nation as it was in France. Its insular location was still more important to it. Unity was never disturbed through the issuing of provinces to branches of the royal house as hereditary individual fiefs to the extent that it was in France. Thus even the greatest hostility within the house of Plantagenet was not capable of splitting the kingdom apart. There are no princes of the blood, no secondary dynasties with secular possessions ruling individual regions, let alone any with the permanent custom of conspiracy with foreign countries. To be sure, from time to time there are foreign alliances. The Plantagenets and Tudors have died out, the Stuart line has almost run out. There are no princes of the blood, and certainly no mutinous ones.
In comparison with the French Estates General, Parliament has the advantage of periodicity which is never interrupted for long, and of the compatibility of the two houses because they are aware of their mutual interests. The Lords do not declare the commoners to be beneath contempt, as did the French nobles with the Third Estate at the Estates General of 1614. Rather, the theory of the lower house that it should be exalted grew beyond the control of the upper house. The English Parliament also possesses the advantage of an old, firmly rooted tradition and conception in people’s minds according to which the crown and the people are in a contractual relationship to each other.
England had not been unified and saved through the power of individual princes, as had repeatedly happened in France. Except for a brief period in the age of Elizabeth, it had not been obliged to stand in the breach against the Hapsburgs on behalf of all Europe; thus there had been no need for it to get accustomed internally to situations that were always violent. The middle class had long since developed more than it had done in France, although with a lesser culture; it had Protestantism within itself.
The Puritan mentality, with its only really justified protest, that against the royal supremacy, was one that pressed onward and upward and was inevitably republican in its consequences. Even with the crown acting quite correctly it would have ventured to make its bid for control, out of its exalted view of its own importance. It cannot bear to see or tolerate alongside itself anything at all that is different from it. All such things it calls idolatry and presses for their destruction. Added to this was the horrible arrogance of belonging to the “elect.” It is this party, rather than the Anglican-royalist and Arminian, that works for the downfall of Catholicism in England, and in this quite natural way the kings are driven to protect it. This was foreseeable, however, and the royal protection of the Catholics later became the main leverage for the overthrow of the crown. This party is not an element with which a clever ruler could have governed as with an “available force.” Royalty was not to its taste because it had not emanated from it. Even the Lollards once said that populares [commoners] were allowed to corrigere [straighten out] a prince who neglected his duties.
The true core and main moving force of this party is the Independent mind which subsequently throws aside its previous guises (Presbyterianism, etc.) with a few vigorous motions.
The parliaments under the Tudors had put up with anything, and the genuine parliamentary tradition had been cut off. But now it is not only resuscitated, but puts forth new growth. Think of the decisions of 1621.
Parliamentary method had never been forgotten, because it had lived on in smaller spheres (the administration of shires and cities, etc.); added to this was the Puritan element which now supplied will and strength.