Was the Protectorate's Instrument of Government influenced by other near-contemporary European constitutions?

Was the Protectorate's Instrument of Government influenced by other near-contemporary European constitutions?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

John Lambert drafted the Instrument of Government, the constitution of the Protectorate, in 1653. How much was Lambert influenced by-or even aware of-the relatively recent near-contemporary European constitutions that had been published in Sweden (1634 Instrument of Government) and the Netherlands (1581 Act of Abjuration) which had similar purposes?

This English Instrument of Government is a document based on "Heads of Proposals" which would have limited the power of Charles I if he had accepted it. Charles didn't. The limitation of powers seems very similar in principle to what the Swedish 1634 Instrument of Goverment was designed to do. The Dutch also used the Act of Abjuration and the Treaty of Utrecht to design a constitutional system that was specific to themselves.

The Swedish document is also noted to have "regulated some of the administration, judiciary and the military" though Wikipedia doesn't go into details as to how this would have been achieved. Despite the Protectorate persevering due to the Army, they did aim to regulate law and parliaments (as well as get financial support to the Army). Hence, the Swedish principles are quite similar to the English constitution's:

… [the Instrument of Government] formed the basis of government for the short-lived republic from 1653 to 1657 by providing a legal rationale for the increasing power of Cromwell after Parliament consistently failed to govern effectively. Most of the concepts and ideas embedded into modern constitutional theory, especially bicameralism, separation of powers, the written constitution, and judicial review, can be traced back to the experiments of that period.

While the "increasing power of Cromwell" doesn't really work with "limiting the power of the King" as in the "Heads of Proposals", this was an inherent contradiction in the Protectorate where Cromwell was the unifying factor.

Paul Lay in 'Providence Lost' describes Lambert's Instrument of Government as having been inspired by God (Lambert's supposed words). However, Lay also mentions Venetian practice for choosing a successor to have impacted the Instrument of Government. Lay doesn't mention the guidance from "Heads of Proposals" that Wikipedia denotes-but it's also not the main subject of his book.


  1. Sabih

    It is very a pity to me, I can help nothing, but it is assured, that to you will help to find the correct decision.

  2. Duramar

    I think, that you are not right. I am assured. I can prove it. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

Write a message