12022 The Formation of Parliaments in the Middle Ages 1

Credits: 3 graduate credits in Democracy Studies / History, Education and Citizenship

Prerequisites: Democracy: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Israeli Democracy: Selected Issues, Contemporary Democratic Theories; one of the following: Democracy and Democratization, Selected Problems in the History of Western Democracies, Education Policy: Education for Democracy in Democratic Societies, Democracy and Mass Communication,2 Selected Topics in Public Administration; and exemption from bibliographic assignments on computer searches in the “Alef” catalog and databases.

Author: Sophia Menache

It is generally agreed that the creation of the parliamentary system is one of the important components of Western political culture. From the historical standpoint, the growth of parliamentarism constitutes a rare encounter between new representative institutions and the Roman, Germanic and feudal traditions in which they are rooted. Beyond its unique importance, the growth of representative institutions provides an ideal observation point from which to understand present-day democratic regimes. Toward the turn of the 14th century, we can point to a defining moment in the history of the West, with the emergence of constitutional regimes that rested on the recognition of the ruler being subject to the law.

The course discusses these developments, clearly distinguishing between the ideational and the political aspects. It focuses on the affinity between the development of representative institutions and the political, economic and social processes which accelerated or slowed down their development, while constantly comparing their ideology and politics.

Topics: Introduction; The corporation and the guild in Europe in the Middle Ages; The principle of consultation and agreement; The practical implementation of the idea of representation; The emergence of parliaments – research approaches; The development of the English Parliament; The development of the cortes of Castile-Leon; The development of the French Estates-General.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

2or Liberalism: Texts, Contexts, Critiques (12005), for students who took it as a required course in the Culture specialization before Spring 2010.