More on 42 days

Marshall Grossman’s post Electing Obama, the Supreme Court and American Exceptionalism in is well worth reading for his take on the importance of Obama’s candidacy. I was very struck by his comments on law, and his reference to James Harrington,

“To be sure the signers of the Declaration of Independence represented the enfranchised classes of Englishmen, but they also knew the difference between a republic and a kingdom and they understood the significance of a government based on a written constitution. Writing under a pseudonym in the Boston Gazette in 1774, John Adams both asserted the English origins of the new republic and its aspiration to something different when he famously quoted the English republican theorist James Harrington’s call for an “empire of laws and not of men,” strategically substituting the word “government” for Harrington’s “empire.” We have in the last seven years seen a sustained and often successful effort to replace that government of laws with something closer to the royal prerogative against which Harrington wrote in 1656.”

In Gordon Brown’s Britain, we are inexorably moving back towards that royal prerogative. 42 days is just one more step along that journey. 

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