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This paper highlights the importance of endogenous changes in the foundations of legitimacy for political regimes. Specifically, it highlights the central role of legitimacy changes in the rise of constitutional monarchy in England. It first highlights the limitations of the consensus view regarding this transition, which claims that Parliament’s military power enabled it to force constitutional monarchy on the Crown after 1688. It then turns to define legitimacy and briefly elaborates a theoretical framework enabling a historical study of this unobservable variable. The third and primary section substantiates that the low-legitimacy, post-Reformation Tudor monarchs of the 16th century promoted Parliament to enhance their legitimacy, thereby changing the legislative process from the Crown-and-Parliament to the Crown-in-Parliament that still prevails in England.


ESI Working Paper 23-01



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