The Last English Civil War

This essay examines why England experienced a civil war every fifty years from the Norman Conquest up until the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689, and was completely stable after that point. The reasons had to do with, first, the slow accumulation of law and respect for the law that had occurred by the seventeenth century, and second, with the emergence of a strong English state and sense of national identity by the end of the Tudor period. This suggests that normative factors are very important in creating stable settlements. Rational choice explanations for such outcomes assert that stalemated conflicts will lead parties to accept second- or third-best outcomes, but English history, as well as more recent experiences, suggests that stability requires normative change as well. 

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