This chapter first outlines the main features of recent scholarly work on European state-building with a view to determining whether there are any general explanatory laws of the European state-building process. Drawing on this general approach, it then offers an explanation of the development of the particular form of the English/British state. It argues that notwithstanding the contemporary peculiarities of the British constitution, the English system of parliamentary government has generally functioned within the European mainstream. Divergence is a relatively recent phenomenon, a consequence of the modern practice of constitution-making.
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