Parliament and Nation, 1272–1327
This chapter describes the evolution of parliament, and its growth as a popular and less exclusively baronial assembly, from the accession of Edward I to the deposition of his son. It shows how, in Edward I's early years, parliament was re‐established, after the traumas of the previous reign, as a central part of the consensual apparatus of royal government; but how this consensus broke down after 1294 under the stress of war and excessive demands for taxes. Parliament then became the focal point for opposition to the crown and one which drew together bishops, magnates, and knights in opposition to royal government. In the next reign, marked as it was by viciously factious aristocratic politics, the knights and the elected burgesses began to draw apart from the magnates and to gain a real political independence for the first time. The role which both elected knights and burgesses played in the deposition of Edward II was a mark of their political status.
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