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The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law explores the relationship between law and revolution. Revolt - armed or not - is often viewed as the overthrow of legitimate rulers. Historical experience, however, shows that revolutions are frequently accompanied by the invocation rather than the repudiation of law. No example is clearer than that of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89. At that time the unpopular but lawful Catholic king, James II, lost his throne and was replaced by his Protestant son-in-law and daughter, William of Orange and Mary, with James's attempt to recapture the throne thwarted at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. The revolutionaries had to negotiate two contradictory but intensely held convictions. The first was that the essential role of law in defining and regulating the activity of the state must be maintained. The second was that constitutional arrangements to limit the unilateral authority of the monarch and preserve an indispensable role for the houses of parliament in public decision-making had to be established. In the circumstances of 1688-89, the revolutionaries could not be faithful to the second without betraying the first. Their attempts to reconcile these conflicting objectives involved the frequent employment of legal rhetoric to justify their actions. In so doing, they necessarily used the word "law" in different ways. It could denote the specific rules of positive law; it could simply express devotion to the large political and social values that underlay the legal system; or it could do something in between. In 1688-89 it meant all those things to different participants at different times. This study adds a new dimension to the literature of the Glorious Revolution by describing, analyzing and elaborating this central paradox: the revolutionaries tried to break the rules of the constitution and, at the same time, be true to them.
Richard S. Kay is the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law.
"Kay makes a compelling case for resolving the incompatibility of the revolutionaries' claims of preserving English law while illegally swapping monarchs… Aspiring historians should appreciate his digging into well-worn primary sources to find new perspectives in a crowded field."~Joshua Schroeder - Univ Buffalo, SUNY, H-Net Reviews
"… offers fresh and important insights into incidents often treated as no more than minor narrative details in the story of the 'Glorious Revolution'."~Ted Vallance, Univ Roehampton, Parliamentary History Yearbook Trust
"… a detailed examination of the legal issues that confronted and exercised the minds of the revolutionary actors and observers… Professor Kay's stimulating book will be of interest to constitutional lawyers, and those interested in revolutionary politics as well as legal historians."~Sally Jane Gold, University of Reading, Journal of Legal History
"This book by Richard Kay is a joy to read… this is very much a book for those interested in contemporary constitutional law… This is a book worth buying."~James Allan, Univ Queensland, Constitutional Commentary
"… his book constitutes an important contribution to understanding the transformation of government during the century after 1689."~David Lemmings, Univ of Adelaide, American Historical Review
"Bearing in mind how few students now read much history in this vein, Kay has performed a useful service: a constitutional history of the Revolution of 1688/9 for millennials… The Catholic University of America Press should also be congratulated for producing an unusually handsome book..."~Grant Tapsell, Oxford, English Historical Review
"Richard S. Kay's The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law is a fascinating historical account of this tension between revolutionary constitutional change and legal continuity in seventeenth-century England."~Nicholas Figueroa Garcia-Herreros, American Journal of Comparative Law
"In this wide ranging book, Kay investigates the legal issues that unltimately resolved the Glorious Revolution… The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of the Law offers a meticulous examination of the issues and debates that dominated the Convention parliament...Thanks to Kay, we now have a thorough analysis of the legal debates that dominated the Convention as well as a survey of the different legal options available to parliamentarians to justify the Glorious Revolution... The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law will be of interest to legal historians and graduate students of seventeenth-century English political and legal history."~Christopher Petrakos, Canadian Journal of Political Science
"A first-rate history based on thorough and extensive research, including many important original sources... the best account so far of the relevant constitutional, legal, and political issues debated and resolved during and after the Glorious Revolution."~Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law
"Digs deeper and more rewardingly into important aspects of the Glorious Revolution than anything yet produced and it will be recognized as a good argument for returning to telling legal matters that are often overlooked in prevailing approaches."~Thomas Green, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan Law School