The Development of British Parliament

During the Middle Ages, the nobles were the main contributors of money to the monarchy in Britain and they wanted to be included in the government of the country to which King John agreed. Magna Carta was signed in 1215 as a document of that agreement and in 1240, the council of aristocrats which advised the kind was called a parliament. England was on the road of becoming the first and only parliamentary monarchy in Europe but the money from the nobles wasn’t enough and so the Council of Commoners was formed and together with the king and another council, they made decisions.

Later on, Common Law was formed and it still operates in Britain today. The Monarchy had been weekend by bitter feuds. A weak monarchy meant a strong parliament, but a stronger monarchy meant a weaker parliament with major decisions being taken in consultation with a very small group of loyal advisers. The nobles didn’t hold much power anymore. Because of how hard life was in Tudor England, Poor Law was passed in 1601 to provide schools, hospitals, childcare and houses of correction. When the last of Tudor Monarchs died, the country became prosperous and progressive and you had to fight to gain respect.

That meant that the rivalries between Parliament and monarchy were about to explode into open conflict. The Puritans refused to accept the systematic discrimination and the House of Commons became a Puritan stronghold from which opposition to the king was organized. When Charles was forced to reopen Parliament in 1640 to ask for taxes to finance a war in Scotland, Parliament refused to help him and insisted on having more say in the running of the country and they demanded control of the army and so the Civil War began.

After 20 years of fighting, Restoration came along. William III’s army forced James to leave England and his victory became known as the Glorious Revolution. It was the first monarch to officially recognize the constitutional rights of Parliament. The Bill of Rights, signed in 1689, said that no law or tax could be passed without Parliament’s approval and the no armed forces could be kept within the kingdom without their consent. The divine right of kings came to an end.

The Glorious Revolution limited the power of monarch in favor of Parliament which led to the creation of constitutional monarch. The monarch depended on Parliament and it became a two-party political system. While Parliament ran the country, the monarchy remained powerful. The Ministers formed a Cabinet that made major policy decisions and it was felt that one member should act as a leader which is how the post of Prime Minister was created. Sir Robert Walpole was the first Prime Minister in British history.