Walter Bagehot's anatomy of The English Constitution is a classic of English political writing. In this new Cambridge Texts edition it appears for the first time in its original (1867) book version, with Bagehot's original conclusion, and the substantial introduction written for the second edition of 1872. Paul Smith's introduction places Bagehot's views in the context of contemporary events and prevalent views of the working of the constitution, indicating their relation to his developing ideas on the anthropological and sociological springs of authority. He assesses the accuracy of Bagehot's account of parliamentary government in operation, and the strength of Bagehot's analysis of the difficulties faced by British liberalism in coming to terms with the approach of democracy. All the usual student-friendly features of the Cambridge Texts series are present, including a select bibliography and brief biographies of key figures, and annotation which explains some of Bagehot's more arcane contemporary allusions.
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