Instrument of Government

Essay by num1qutieUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2008

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The Instrument of Government was enacted after the English Civil War and the execution of Charles I. How does the document attempt to restrict the powers of the executive? (9)The instrument of Government attempted to restrict the powers of executive by limiting the actions of the lord protector. Many of his decisions come by way of advice and consent through the major part of the Council and Parliament. For example, the Lord Protector “shall govern the said countries and dominions in all things by the advice of the Council.” Also to order militia and forces would be by consent of Parliament and the Council. The Lord Protector cannot alter any laws or taxes without the consent of Parliament.

Is the Instrument of Government a democratic document? Why or why not? (9)The Instrument of Government resulted in the adoption of a democratic government for England. The Lord Protector is required to gain consent from the council and Parliament in order to alter laws, order militia, and govern the countries.

This government is similar to today’s democratic government which is administered by checks and balances. This is similar to how the lord protector needed to receive permission by the counsel and parliament in order to establish a balance of power. The instrument of government also introduced an election process to choose the Lord Protector. The document states that the “Lord Protector over these nations shall be elective and not hereditary.” However the democratic nature of these elections is limited because only members of the counsel can elect the Lord Protector. The elections are also limited because individuals that own an estate to the value of £200 are capable of electing members to serve in parliament.

Who is the ultimate beneficiary of the English Bill of Rights of 1689? Why? (10)The ultimate beneficiary of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 was Parliament. The Bill of Rights placed limitations on the monarch and gave more powers to Parliament. One major impact the Bill of Rights had was allowing Parliament to choose the King. This was intended to avoid having a King who was Catholic and not Protestant. Therefore the process of placing a new King is not based solely on heredity. The Bill of Rights also guaranteed that the debates or proceedings in Parliament can not be impeached or questioned by anyone or any court outside of Parliament. Parliament has the right to petition the King, and all the prosecutions against these petitions are illegal.

To what extent do these documents secure religious liberty for the people of England? (9 and 10)In document 9, the instrument of government helped secure religious liberty of the citizens of England, by stating that people shall not be restrained from, but will be protected in the practice of their faith and religion. People who are elected to serve in Parliament should fear God and believe in the Christian religion. The people of England had their religious liberty secured to the extent where they could only exercise the Christian religion. In document 10, religious liberty is secured for the people of England by not allowing the monarch to hold communion with the Roman Catholics to be allowed in Parliament. This is an attempt to protect the Protestants from the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants were also allowed to have arms for their defense.

Both documents require oaths to be taken by the executive. Most office holders in the United States also take oaths of office including the President of the United States. What do you make of this requirement? (9 and 10)These documents discuss how oaths are required to be taken by executives to ensure that they will seek peace and welfare, to guarantee that laws and justice will be equally administered and not be violated. Oaths are also taken to continue the practice of traditional values such as religion. By having different types of Lords, Kings, leaders, and presidents taking oaths shows the concern of the people and of the country to preserve the principles of their past.