Download e-book for iPad: A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's by David Rollison

By David Rollison

In 1500 fewer than 3 million humans spoke English; this present day English audio system quantity at the least a thousand million around the world. This ebook 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 an extended social revolution with roots deep within the medieval earlier. A succession of crises from the Norman Conquest to the English Revolution have been causal hyperlinks and chains of collective reminiscence in a different, vernacular, populist move. The key-phrase of this lengthy revolution, 'commonwealth', has been mostly invisible in conventional constitutional historical past. This panoramic synthesis of political, highbrow, social, cultural, non secular, monetary, literary and linguistic activities bargains a 'new constitutional heritage' within which kingdom associations and tool elites have been subordinate and answerable to a better group that the early glossy English referred to as 'commonwealth' and we name 'society'.

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Additional info for A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's Long Social Revolution, 1066-1649

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51 ‘The formation of collective consciousness’ – language, ideas, discourses relating to the community of communities of the English – was the central preoccupation of ‘early modern England’. I suggest in the early chapters of this book that if there is a great divide between the English medieval and early modern periods, it should be located in the first three decades of the fourteenth century. The movement began in the second half of the thirteenth century, but this can only be seen clearly in relation to the antecedent ‘structures’ examined in Chapters 1 and 2.

Its substance and origin were essentially populist. As such they have something to teach us about the remarkable political revolution of modernity: the displacement (at least in terms of theoretical sovereignty) of monarchical/tyrannical and aristocratic/oligarchic by democratic/political constitutional forms. The all-consuming problem in the centuries covered by this book was how to make one community out of many parts – ‘to make the community one’, as David Malouf puts it. The parts took many forms: geographical provinces and localities, neighbourhoods, parishes, manors, lordships, religious movements, ‘estate’ in its entire complex of meanings, class, ethnicity, vocation, occupation, household, family and self.

We shall see that defence of the territory was the precept of every surviving attempt to define and explain the English constitution from the mid-twelfth to the late sixteenth century. In the second half of the sixteenth century the orientation changed. 5 million people carried the marker genes of those Mesolithic immigrants and shared a common language. 1570: ‘conquer, convert, trafike’. As far as I know, no-one has tried to estimate how many people alive today share genetic markers that show them to be descendants of the mongrel code that shaped those Mesolithic migrants to ‘Britain’; we do know there are approximately a billion English speakers in the world today and that numbers are increasing.

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