Making Constructions, Building Parliaments: Constructing representative institutions, 1000-2000

Country: United Kingdom

City: London

Abstr. due: 01.01.2015

Dates: 30.06.15 — 04.07.15

Area Of Sciences: History and archeology; Law;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: History of Parliament Trust


The year 2015 marks two anniversaries of enormous significance in the history of English, and British constitutional and legal history: the 800th anniversary of King John’s acceptance of Magna Carta, the great charter of liberties of the English nation in 1215; and the 750th anniversary of the Parliament summoned by Simon de Montfort in 1265, following his defeat of King Henry III in a civil war which was the culmination of a baronial revolt. To mark these anniversaries, the History of Parliament Trust will in 2015 host the annual conference of the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions (ICHRPI:

The conference will take 1215 and 1265 as a starting point for an exploration of the initiation and development of political institutions from the early Middle Ages onwards, and an assessment of their role in state formation or nation building. It will consider the significance of foundational documents and events such as Magna Carta and the de Montfort Parliament and how these – and the historiography of Parliaments – became so important in the subsequent history of Parliament and political institutions – how, for example, Magna Carta and the de Montfort Parliament were built up and depicted as central events in the building of the English state.

The conference will set the foundation of the English and British constitutional tradition alongside that of other jurisdictions elsewhere; it will explore other confrontations between communal traditions and royal powers and how these were expressed and resolved; it will seek to compare the development of the English political tradition with contemporary parallel institutions in Europe, and explore their divergence and/or convergence.

We invite interested parties to submit a short abstract of no more than 200 words for papers on the following themes:
Making Constitutions
•    The development of ideas of law, representative institutions and constitutionalism in the Middle Ages
•    The construction, importance, use and mythical status of foundational constitutional documents
•    The global reach and influence of the English model of Parliaments and constitutionalism
Building Parliaments
•    The construction and development of  Parliaments from Europe in the Middle Ages onwards
•    Parliaments and their role in state formation and state building in all states and periods
•    The history and historiography of Parliaments, and their place in political culture
Studying Parliaments
•    Round tables on various approaches to parliamentary history: oral history, prosopography and collective biography and digitised parliamentary sources.

Conference Web-Site: