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Medieval Law and the Foundations of the State$
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Alan Harding

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198219583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198219583.001.0001

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The Monarchical State of the Later Middle Ages

The Monarchical State of the Later Middle Ages

(p.252) Chapter Eight The Monarchical State of the Later Middle Ages
Medieval Law and the Foundations of the State


Oxford University Press

In later medieval France and England chroniclers and royal councillors began to assess the ‘state of the kingdom’, marrying the political theory of Aristotle to contemporary experience of what were becoming a ‘war state’ as much as a ‘law state’. They were unanimous that France was a ‘monarchical state’ (état monarchique) in which royal government gave the body politic its continuity. Yet ‘the common good’ was recognised as the end of government, and even the king of France had to come to terms with the representatives of the estates in the ‘estates general’. In England Richard II exalted his royal prerogative too far, and in 1399 proctors ‘for all the estates and people’ declared him ‘deposed and deprived’ of ‘the Estate of King’, because of his ‘defaults of governance’ in misusing the law and parliament to destroy his critics.

Keywords:   body politic, monarchical state, government, common good, estates general, Richard II

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