House of Lords Reform: A History
Volume 1. The Origins to 1937: Proposals Deferred
Book One: The Origins to 1911
Book Two: 1911-1937
Year of Publication: 2011
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2011. Book One: XXVIII, 604 pp., num. coloured and b/w ill.; Book Two: X, 623 pp., num. coloured and b/w ill.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0749-9 hb. (Hardcover)
Weight: 1.990 kg, 4.387 lbs
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One of the peculiarities of British history is the development of a constitution headed by the Crown and the two Houses of Parliament. This system emerged to become a balance of democracy, efficiency and moderation that became the admiration of the world.
The contribution of the House of Lords to this balance is all too often overlooked. In this richly documented two-volume work, the author offers a detailed examination of the Lords’ constitutional position and the predicament they faced as the Commons increasingly championed popular rule. With a landowning membership based on the hereditary principle, the Lords struggled to adapt. Yet, valiant attempts were made. The author gives us the first thorough, full-length history of the Lords’ ambiguous responses to the new democracy and the stream of arguments, proposals and bills raised for reform of their House.
Drawing on speeches, letters, reports and memoranda of the times (some never previously published), the book brings to life the inner wranglings and arresting personalities, the hopes and anxieties and the sheer frustrations of a House divided between entrenched interests and idealism, and often threatened by progressives outside.
The two books in Volume One cover the period from the medieval origins of the House of Lords and proceed, through many tumultuous events, to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Contents: The medieval origins – Upheaval - the Civil War, Commonwealth and Restoration – The 18P;th century House and Pitt’s new creations – The Lords’ opposition to the Great Reform Bill – Calls for reform and purgation of the Black Sheep – The issue of peerages for life – The clash with the Liberal Government, and the Parliament Act 1911 – Coming to terms with socialists and Labour.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
Peter Raina is currently Visiting Research Scholar, Faculty of History, Oxford University. He has been Senior Research Associate, Balliol College, Oxford, and Honorary Member of the High Table and Associate Member of the Senior Common Room, Christ Church, Oxford.
«Raina has produced a work of scholarship that is useful and fascinating for constitutional historians and lawyers. It is a very informative source book with some documents never previously published.» (George Devenish, The South African Law Journal 129, 2012/1)
«Pour qui souhaite comprendre les institutions britanniques, cet ouvrage constitue une mine d'informations, le tout présenté (...) dans une prose des plus élégantes.» (F.R. van der Mensbrugghe, Revue de droit international et de droit comparé 3/2012)