chapter  4
29 Pages

Precedents and Rights: The British Body Politic c.1500–c.1750

The ‘precedents,presented by the past became ever more important as weap­ ons in the present in the eyes of both supporters and critics of Tudor and Stuart monarchs. Debate and argument began to broaden, and the emphasis in historiography began to change. 'During the sixteenth century’,writes Sir John Hale, ‘the emphasis on what history taught shifted from morals to wis­ dom, and in particular, political wisdom. From being a repertory of sins punished, it became a storehouse of historical parallels.,1 Lawyers began to make a deeper study of law and government. Magna Carta was first publish­ ed in 1499 and translated into English in the mid-sixteenth century, though it was the reissue under Henry III rather than the Charter of John’s reign which was used.