The English Constitution

Walter BAGEHOT (1826 - 1877)

The English Constitution is an extremely accessible work of political and legal science by Walter Bagehot, first published in serialized form in 1865-7. While some of his observations on the English system no longer apply to the modern constitutional organization of the United Kingdom, his philosophical basis is for the most part as sound as ever.

For instance, Bagehot observes in the chapter on the Monarchy that, It is often said that men are ruled by their imaginations; but it would be truer to say they are governed by the weakness of their imaginations. The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas: anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, "Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?" the inquiry comes out thus—"Will you be governed in a way you understand, or will you be governed in a way you do not understand?" The issue was put to the French people; they were asked, "Will you be governed by Louis Napoleon, or will you be governed by an assembly?" The French people said, "We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine". - Summary by Carolin

Genre(s): Law, Political Science

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Introduction to the Second Edition, part 1 sawasawaya
00:23:55
Play 02 Introduction to the Second Edition, part 2 sawasawaya
00:28:02
Play 03 Introduction to the Second Edition, part 3 Jim Locke
00:25:35
Play 04 Introduction to the Second Edition, part 4 Jim Locke
00:36:49
Play 05 The Cabinet, part 1 Jim Locke
00:29:27
Play 06 The Cabinet, part 2 Jim Locke
00:29:50
Play 07 The Monarchy, part 1 Jim Locke
00:22:48
Play 08 The Monarchy, part 2 Jim Locke
00:20:09
Play 09 The Monarchy, part 3 Jim Locke
00:28:26
Play 10 The Monarchy, part 4 Jim Locke
00:29:40
Play 11 The House of Lords, part 1 Gina Eltora
00:26:30
Play 12 The House of Lords, part 2 Gina Eltora
00:23:59
Play 13 The House of Lords, part 3 Gina Eltora
00:21:34
Play 14 The House of Commons, part 1 Jim Locke
00:27:55
Play 15 The House of Commons, part 2 Jim Locke
00:29:22
Play 16 The House of Commons, part 3 Jim Locke
00:27:08
Play 17 On Changes of Ministry, part 1 Jim Locke
00:27:07
Play 18 On Changes of Ministry, part 2 Jim Locke
00:21:55
Play 19 On Changes of Ministry, part 3 Jim Locke
00:27:14
Play 20 Its Supposed Checks and Balances, part 1 Bev J Stevens
00:37:58
Play 21 Its Supposed Checks and Balances, part 2 Bev J Stevens
00:36:49
Play 22 The Prerequisites of Cabinet Government, and The Peculiar Form which They Have Assumed in England Bev J Stevens
00:34:35
Play 23 Its History, and the Effects of that History - Conclusion Jim Locke
00:34:47