The aim of the present writer has been to trace the travelled road of the English people towards democracy, and to point out certain landmarks on that road, in the hope that readers may be turned to examine more closely for themselves the journey taken. For the long march teems with adventure and spirited enterprise; and, noting mistakes and failures in the past, we may surely and wisely, and yet with greater daring and finer courage, pursue the road, not unmindful of the charge committed to us in the centuries left behind.
efinite conviction that those who furnished arms and men for the king, or who paid certain moneys in taxation, were entitled to be heard in the councils of the king; and the charters given in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries--from Henry I. to Henry III.--confirmed this conviction. The resistance to the Stuarts was still based on the conviction that direct taxation conferred political privileges, but now the claim to speak in the great council of the realm had become a request to be listened to by the king, and passed rapidly from that to a resolution that the king should have no money from Parliament if he refused to listen. The practical inconvenience of a king altogether at variance with Parliament was held to be sufficient justification for getting rid of James II., and for hobbling all future kings with the Bill of Rights.
The dethronement of aristocracy in favour of democracy has proceeded on very similar lines. The mass of English people were far too wretched and far too ignorant at the end o