Antonio Mastropaolo

The People in the Theory of Divine Right of James I.

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A significant particular in the evolution of constitutionalism is constituted by the historic passage that began in England with the Protestant Reformation under Henry VIII and culminated with the Revolution of 1642. These years witnessed the progressive erosion of the medieval idea of a hierarchically-structured legal system based on an articulated system of bodies, supplanted by a new way of conceiving the people, and of representing the same, in a unitary way. The text tries to reconstruct the context within which James I came to elaborate the theory of divine right, pointing out how it was formulated for the purpose of guaranteeing the independence of the monarch from any danger deriving from internal or external interference, whether of Calvinist or Catholic background and origin. In addition, an attempt is made within this framework to single out the original elements distinguishing this reflection as opposed to both the medieval vision and England's constitutional tradition.


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