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Constitutional Change in England and the Diffusion of Regulatory Initiative, 1660-1714

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/12/2014
Issue number338
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)839-863
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article places a new account of the English state's changing framework for economic regulation alongside what economic historians have demonstrated about the phasing and arenas of economic growth between 1660 and 1714. It places studies of parliamentary legislation into a broader examination of the state's means of regulation (which included the privy council and parliament) and sets this account of regulatory actions against a new account of the changing ways in which petitions approached the state as a regulatory body and how the state responded to those approaches. It also offers a more textured account of the changing styles of economic regulation in this period and of the important (though neglected) role played by commercial interests groups. It argues that the executive colluded with these interests during the Restoration period to use the state to increase the scale of England's overseas trade. With the rising importance of parliament after 1689 regulatory initiative diffused to either local interests which focused on infrastructure projects or trading interests bent on defeating regulating statutes in ways that would lead to deregulation as other constitutional means of regulation (especially the privy council) retreated from view. The state continued to regulate to protect manufacturing (which also provided customs revenue) and to support the monopoly of the East India Company (which provided money and materiel for the wars against Louis XIV). As such the article offers a broader and more agile means to understand the economic connotations of constitutional change in this critical period.