The Nature and the Identity of the Constitution during the Minority of Henry III (1216-1227)
Gates, Stephen Michael
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Writing PhD with some similar themes.
This thesis investigates the nature of the thirteenth-century constitution by focusing on the minority of Henry III. It is argued that Henry’s succession to the throne was a demonstration of the complicated interaction between hereditary right, designation, and election. It is argued that the distribution of power within the government was, for the most part, ill-defined and varied throughout the minority’s course. It is also argued that there was a fundamental uncertainty about when the minority would end and what role Henry himself would play during the minority. Taken together, it is argued, these demonstrate that Henry’s minority was more of a political settlement than a constitutional settlement. This does not mean that England had no constitution during the thirteenth century but merely that it was more sensitive to the political dynamics of the time than perhaps modern constitutions are and that, compared to modern constitutions, it was much less well defined and lacking a clear unified philosophy.
MA by Research in Law