The Long Parliament's Long Shadow
From Aberdeen to Dover and Cork to Londonderry the event the events in Westminster in 1640 and 1641 reflected the interconnectedness of the three Kingdoms. They would have a profound effect on the Atlantic Colonies.
The records of the Long Parliament elucidate the Anglo-American constitutional
tradition, and clarify the roots of democratic and representative governments
worldwide. The vocabulary and concepts used by the Framers of the American
Constitution have a direct link with seventeenth-century English parliaments.
Many of the Founding Fathers did more than read the legal works of Sir
Edward Coke and John Selden - key leaders in the parliamentary debates
on liberty, government, and human rights. Thomas Jefferson, for example,
in drafting the U.S.Constitution as well as the rules of procedure for
the new American Congress, referred repeatedly to incomplete printed versions
of these debates. These debates, he felt, should be an essential source
and touchstone in forming a representative government. In 1810 Jefferson
wrote that "Our laws, language, religion, politics, and manners are so
deeply laid in English foundations that we shall never cease to consider
their history as a part of ours, and to study ours in that as its origins."