PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
Nobody set out to create Parliament. It developed naturally out of the daily political needs of the English King and his government. The modern British Parliament is one of the oldest continuous representative assemblies in the world. The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London. This lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801.
The first Parliaments
The first known official use of the term Parliament was in 1236. The word Parliament means an event arranged to talk and discuss things, from the French word "parler". For the first few centuries of its existence Parliament was only an occasion and not an institution. It was called at the whim of the monarch, consisted of whoever he wanted to speak with, met wherever he happened to be, could last as long as he wanted, and had no independent officials of its own. During the 13th century the barons were frequently in revolt against the kings whom they thought were governing the realm badly, that is, against the barons' own wishes.
In 1215 King John was forced to agree to Magna Carta, the "great charter" of legal rights which insisted that he listen to and follow the advice of the barons. Magna Carta contained clauses which in theory noticeably reduced the power of the king, such as clause 61. This “security clause” allowed a group of 25 barons to override the will of the king at any time by way of force if he defied the provisions of the Charter, seizing his castles and possessions if it was considered necessary. The rebels knew that King John could never be restrained by Magna Carta and so they sought a new King. First Baron’s War 1215
England was plunged into a First Barons' War (1215-1217). It was a civil war in the Kingdom of England between a group of rebellious barons, led by Robert Fitzwalter and supported by a French army under the future Louis VIII of France, and King John of England. The war resulted from the king's refusal to accept and abide by the Magna Carta he had sealed on 15 June 1215, and from the ambitions of the French prince, who dragged the war on after many of the rebel barons had made peace with John. The barons offered the crown of England to Prince Louis of France, in a measure of some desperation, despite the tenuousness of his claim and despite the fact that he was French. The death of King John was in 1216.
Then, at the meeting of Parliament at Oxford in 1258 the barons stated their dissatisfaction with Henry III. In 1264 leader of the barons, Simon de Montfort, who was victorious in war between him and Henry III, in January 1265 called his own Parliament to discuss the peace terms. This Parliament is seen as the earliest forerunner of the modern Parliament because it included not only the men who made up the Great Council, but also representatives from each county and from the cities and towns, known as burgesses. The larger group in the Commons were the 222 burgesses, two from each town allowed to return representatives, known as a borough. Another 12 joined after 1536 when Wales was united to England. The selection of burgesses depended on the will of the King. He could make a town into a parliamentary borough through a royal charter. De Montfort was killed in battle, only a few months after his Parliament, by Henry III's son, Edward. When he became King in 1272, Edward I developed Parliament into an institution for his own purposes. This needed more money than they had from their...
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