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Martial Law and English Laws, c.1500–c.1700


  • 1 table
  • Page extent: 332 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.59 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9781107092877)

John M. Collins presents the first comprehensive history of martial law in the early modern period. He argues that rather than being a state of exception from law, martial law was understood and practiced as one of the King's laws. Further, it was a vital component of both England's domestic and imperial legal order. It was used to quell rebellions during the Reformation, to subdue Ireland, to regulate English plantations like Jamestown, to punish spies and traitors in the English Civil War, and to build forts on Jamaica. Through outlining the history of martial law, Collins reinterprets English legal culture as dynamic, politicized, and creative, where jurists were inspired by past practices to generate new law rather than being restrained by it. This work asks that legal history once again be re-integrated into the cultural and political histories of early modern England and its empire.

• Examines some of the greatest constitutional conflicts of the seventeenth century through the prism of law • Highlights how martial law was transformed by military innovations on the European Continent • Discusses the relationship between law and emergency, rebutting claims that martial law is a form of exception from law


Introduction; Prologue; Part I. A Jurisprudence of Terror: 1. Making martial law; 2. Making summary martial law; 3. Transforming martial law; Part II. Martial Law and English Parliaments: 4. Bound by wartime: martial law and the petition of right; 5. Unbound by parliament: martial law and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; 6. Bound and unbound: martial law in the Restoration empire; 7. The rise of martial law; Conclusion; Manuscript bibliography; Index.

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