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by Ludwig Riess
The introduction, during the Middle Ages, of a representative system into English political life, was an event of great historical significance, and has since been central to academic debate. Written by Ludwig Riess (1861-1928), an eminent twentieth-century historian, this pioneering account of the medieval English electorate profoundly influenced the study of English constitutional history, as it questioned the fundamental assumptions of the scholarship that preceded it. First published in German in 1885, it critically evaluated the aims of the elected representatives, and re-assessed the general electoral regulations of the period. In so doing, it provided new solutions to some problems encountered by previous scholars, such as defining parliamentary boroughs, and accounting for the rise of a national representative assembly. First translated into English in 1940 by K. L. Wood-Legh, this controversial and seminal work remains highly relevant to legal scholars and historians today.