What ho, Bagehot!


Much of The English Constitution is an implicit, sometimes explicit, critique of the American Constitution, particularly of the separation of powers, which belies the “sovereign authority” required of government in the ordinary course of events, let alone in critical times, like that of the Civil War. England has something resembling this in its three branches of government, king, Lords, and Commons. But the reality is different: a government comprising two parts, the “dignified” and the “efficient,” working together in harmony. It is this “double government,” a “disguised republic,” that is the genius of the English constitution. And it is the monarch, the visible head of the dignified part of government, who sustains the disguised republic. “We have made, or rather, stumbled on, a marvel of intelligible government, which superimposes the poetry of monarchy upon a burgeoning democracy.”

Source: The Weekly Standard.


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