The British Government : Constitutional Monarchy

1510 Words Oct 16th, 2015 7 Pages
The current British government is a constitutional monarchy, where the monarch is the Head of State, but only Parliament has the ability to make laws. This distribution of power originated during the reign of the Stuarts. While absolute monarchs ruled the rest of Europe, the English Parliament slowly forced the kings and queens to relinquish much of their power. However, limits on the power of the monarchy were in place far before the Stuart dynasty. In 1215, King John signed the Magna Carta and agreed to consult the Great Council, which later became Parliament, before raising taxes, effectively giving Parliament the power of the purse. The conditions of the Magna Carta came into conflict during the Stuart monarchy. Before the Stuarts, the Tudor family had good relations with Parliament. When Henry VIII wanted to break away from the Catholic Church, Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy and because of the many wars, he had to consult Parliament regularly to raise taxes. After the Tudors, there were six Stuart monarchs, reigning from 1603 to 1714. James I did not associate well with Parliament, unlike his Tudor predecessors. James, like many absolute rulers at the time, believed he had a God given divine right to rule and thus did not appreciate Parliament’s role in his government. James and Parliament were in constant conflict over taxes and who had the right to levy them. Parliament passed the Great Protestation, declaring it had freedom of speech and superiority in…
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