By David Rollison
In 1500 fewer than 3 million humans spoke English; at the present time English audio system quantity not less than one thousand million around the world. This booklet asks how and why a small island humans grew to become the nucleus of an empire 'on which the sunlight by no means set'. David Rollison argues that the 'English explosion' was once the end result of a protracted social revolution with roots deep within the medieval prior. A succession of crises from the Norman Conquest to the English Revolution have been causal hyperlinks and chains of collective reminiscence in a distinct, vernacular, populist stream. The key-phrase of this lengthy revolution, 'commonwealth', has been mostly invisible in conventional constitutional heritage. This panoramic synthesis of political, highbrow, social, cultural, non secular, financial, literary and linguistic events deals a 'new constitutional heritage' during which nation associations and gear elites have been subordinate and answerable to a better group that the early sleek English referred to as 'commonwealth' and we name 'society'.
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Additional resources for A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's Long Social Revolution, 1066-1649
The revolution entailed a loss of prestige. Having enjoyed for three centuries the status of the noblest human science, politics emerged from the revolution as an ignoble, depraved and sordid activity: it was no longer the most powerful means of fighting corruption, but the art of conforming to, and perpetuating it. 37 Its heroes, Plato, Aristotle and Cicero were philosophers and practitioners of constitutional life. The idea was that the virtu of a constitution is contingent upon the virtu of its citizen body.
An idea’, he writes, ‘may best be understood generically as an identifiable response in discourse brought about by a distinguishably conventional circumscribed problem’. For the purposes of identification and analysis, ‘the political thought of distinctive civilizations . . 25 Summation terms, in Condren’s system, are ‘expressions or terms that function as reflexive abridgements of society’s sense of political, religious, and temporal identity’. Since political activity is largely verbal, summation terms abridge the given society’s established idioms of public discourse and its ethical structures; as political activity changes, so the varying usage of summation terms may act as barometers of changing political identity.
The Norman Conquest, Magna Carta, Simon de Montfort’s ‘common enterprise’, the rise of a common language, the depositions of Edward II and Richard II and other collective crises of the formative fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (notably the emergence of public opinion and the tradition of popular resistance and rebellion), the English reformation, Elizabethan imperialism and the revolution of the 1640s were causal links and chains of collective memory in a larger, essentially populist, movement.
A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's Long Social Revolution, 1066-1649 by David Rollison