Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type

Dissertation (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

James M Blythe

Committee Member

Robert Frankle

Committee Member

Abraham Kriegel

Committee Member

Walter R Brown


This dissertation examines the question about whether the growth of Parliamentary stature and rise of the House of Commons began in the Elizabethan period, as some have argued or not until later in the Stuart period. It approaches this question by examining the full institutional record of all three sessions of the Parliament of 1572 in which the pretentions of Mary, Queen of Scots to the English throne provoked a constitutional conflict. The research is based on reconstruction of the course of all legislation introduced into both Houses of Parliament and close examination of the membership and actions of both Houses of Parliament as well as the Crown. It presents new evidence in tables compiled from primary sources including the official Journals from both Houses and contemporary diaries to analyze the record of all three institutions of Parliament in action. The evidence suggests that though the Commons cooperated with the House of Lords and the Crown on substantive issues, the Commons leveraged its own interests by exercising its Parliamentary rights and privileges in direct challenge of both the House of Lords and the Crown. The Queen responded to the challenge with temporary, if innovative, strategies to retain her prerogatives and specific wishes, but the evidence shows that the Commons consolidated its nascent power in a small but perceptible institutionalization of the committee process, where its power resided. Despite earlier claims that the House of Commons in the 1572 Parliament was inefficient, ineffective, and unorganized, the evidence presented in the dissertation shows the contrary to be true.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.