Sir John fortescue and the political dominium

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The paper analyzes the approach of Sir John Fortescue to the law and politics of constitutions, and especially constitution-making in fifteenth century England in his works De Laudibus Legum Angliae, and The Governance of England. In these mirrors for princes, Fortescue outlines the optimum means of governance of the people, through involvement of the people in the parliament, juries, and a council advising the king. His view was that all parts of the body politic must contribute to the continuing health of the nation, and that in this the support and involvement of the people was pivotal. The paper argues that Fortescue was prescient in many ways, his approach to constitutions, constitutional law and the politics of governance affecting later scholars and lawyers in a significant fashion, and that there is still much to be gained from his work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConstitutions and the Classics
Subtitle of host publicationFortescue, the Levellers, Harrington, Hobbes, Lockes, Hume and Bentham
EditorsD. J. Galligan
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherFoundation for Law, Justice and Society and the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventConstitutions and the Classics - Oxford, England
Duration: 3 Dec 20084 Dec 2008


ConferenceConstitutions and the Classics
CityOxford, England


  • Sir John Fortescue
  • constitutions
  • body politic
  • people
  • political dominion
  • monarchy


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