Conclusion A Jurisprudence of Power: Victorian Empire and the Rule of Law

R. W. Kostal

in A Jurisprudence of Power

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551941
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191714320 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Modern Legal History

Conclusion A Jurisprudence of Power: Victorian Empire and the Rule of Law

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This concluding essay examines the nature and significance of the Jamaica controversy in the wider sweep of modern English political and legal history. That the Jamaica affair became so thoroughly infused with legal ideas and procedures is a trademark of English political culture. With the advent of the Jamaica affair, leading Englishmen like John Stuart Mill attempted to use the courts to resolve (what is identified as) a defining contradiction of mid-Victorian English politics: the simultaneous commitment to law and empire. For a host of reasons their initiative failed. While the Jamaica litigation generated a number of important judicial pronouncements on the English jurisprudence of political and military power, the courts could not, perhaps cannot, provide a definitive resolution to what, after all, are timeless and intractable issues at the core of political liberalism.

Keywords: history of English politics; rule of law; legal liberalism; British empire

Chapter.  15804 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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