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The English Constitution

by Walter Bagehot

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Book Description
Chronicling the past is much easier than chronicling the present, which was exactly Walter Bagehot's project when writing The English Constitution, first published in 1873. His ambitious undertaking was to describe the British government as it actually worked during 1865 and 1866. Government as it functions is very different from the government as it is spelled out on paper. Many factors, including the mindset of the people and the habits of those already in government, affect how a country is run. Political scientists and historians will find Bagehot's commentary on the living English government and invaluable tool in understanding the politics of the era. British journalist WALTER BAGEHOT (1826-1877) was an early editor of The Economist and was among the first economists to discuss the concept of the business cycle. He is also the author of Physics and Politics (1872) and The Postulates of English Political Economy (1885).

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The use of the House of Lords or, rather, of the Lords, in its dignified capacity--is very great. It does not attract so much reverence as the Queen, but it attracts very much. The office of an order of nobility is to impose on the common people--not necessarily to impose on them what is untrue, yet less what is hurtful; but still to impose on their quiescent imaginations what would not otherwise be there.



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