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The British constitution

The British constitution is not written. It is formed by laws adopted by Parliament (common law), international agreements and rules developed over the centuries.

The main advantage is that it can be adapted to changing political conditions and ide 959d39j as.

In GB there has always been a Monarchy, except for a breaf period in which Cromwell transformed it into  Republic.

The British constitution has a long tradition. It goes back as far as 1215, when the king was forced to grant the Magna Charta Libertatum. With this, for the firs time in history, the king was obliged to renounce part of his powers.

From that time forward the history of GB has seen a continual erosion of the power of the monarch, and a corresponding increase in the power of, first the middle class, then other social groups like agricultural and industrial working class.

On the way of parliament

The Middle Ages are marked by the struggle between the Crown (corona) and the barons.

In 1215 King John sign the Magna Charta, which stated that all freeman had the right to a fair and legal trial.

Another step was the fact that representatives of the baron started to meet regularly. This was the beginning of the House of Lords.

Gradually in the course of 13th century, another representative institution emerged. It was made up of the representatives of nobles and merchants and it gave origin to the House of Commons.

Tudor times

In 1485 first Tudor king, Henry VII come to the throne.

With the opening of sea routes, after the discovery of America, Britain become a world power.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, called the Golden Age, explorations were carried out and trading companies were founded.

Another important event during the Tudor times was the break with the Church of Rome, in the hope of Henry VII to control the Church.

The Tudor Age came to an end when Elizabeth I died and was succeeded by the Stuart king of Scotland, who join England and Scotland.

Crown versus parliament

The 17th century was marked by a continual struggle between Crown and Parliament.

So, started a Civil War between Royalists, supporting the king, and Roundheads, supporting the Parliament. In the end the Royalists were defeated by the parliamentarians.

In the middle of 17th century, for 11 years, Britain was a republic headed (giudata) by Cromwell.

In Cromwell death the conflict started again. It came to an end when Parliament proclaimed Mary Stuart and William of Orange the two monarch of Britain.

Merchants and landowners (commercianti e proprietari terrieri)

In the 18th century the importance of Parliament was increased because the king could not speak English. For this, Parliament took the place of the Crown and became the central institution in the country.

The House of Commons represented the wealth-creating classes (borghesia), the merchants and the landowners.

In the 18th century trade with colonies increased. Colonies became more important for Britain market.

The long Victorian age

In the first part of 19th century food price were high and unemployment widespread (esteso).

The only possibility for poor who had no place to live, was the "work-house", a squalid place where a little food was given in exchange for hard work.

In the meantime the middle class demanded representation in Parliament and workers organized themselves in trade unions, which gave origin to a new political party: the Labour Party.

The Victorian Age was also important for social reforms, like that for the slave trade: slavery was abolished throughout the British dominions.

The two world wars

In the two world conflicts Britain lost a million of its men, who were killed in the trenches. It also lost many of its traditional markets and industrial power.

The situation got worse after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, caused a severe economic depression.

In those years the state started to played a more active part in the welfare of its citizens.

From the empire to the European community

After the second world war the Commonwealth came to an end, in fact more colonies became independent.

In 1963 Britain applied to enter the European Economic Community.

In the 60s the standard of living increased, but in the 70s prices began to rise (aumentare) and unemployment became a problem again.

In this difficult economic situation Britain's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher liberalize trade and stated a minimum interference of state in economy.


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