John Fortescue

Also found in: Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fortescue, John


Born circa 1394; died circa 1476. English jurist, political thinker, and statesman.

In 1442, Fortescue became chief justice of the King’s Bench. In 1460 he was made lord chancellor. At the beginning of the War of the Roses (1455–85), Fortescue sided with the house of Lancaster. In 1461, after the Lancastrians had suffered a defeat, he fled from England. Upon his return in 1471, Fortescue supported the house of York.

Fortescue’s political concepts constitute a transitional link between the ideology of the class-structured monarchy and the doctrine of absolutism. He held that the state should be governed by the monarch in agreement with Parliament. At the same time, Fortescue proposed a number of political measures aimed at increasing the real power of the king and converting the class-representational institutions from a means of controlling and limiting the king to a means of strengthening royal power.


On the Governance of England. Oxford, 1885.
De laudibus legum Angliae. Cambridge, 1942.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sobecki convincingly argues his central thesis that a unique common law vernacular legal culture was present in England in this period, which was not limited to the works of John Fortescue, St German, and John Rastell.
His topics include Cicero and the politics of the public orthodoxy, Sir John Fortescue and the English tradition, and the natural law tradition and the American political experience.
Cromartie begins his book with chapters on the legal theories of Sir John Fortescue (ca.
Chapters 15-17 introduce topics and authors hardly mentioned in the 1984 collection: Saints' Lives, Reginald Pecock and John Fortescue, and Private Letters.
Sir John Fortescue died in 1476 and the tomb is finely carved with tracery and shields.
McGurk asks: "What dimension of kingship does 1.3 ["The crown as the supreme symbol of kingship," using Richard II's monologue in Shakespeare's Richard II (3.2.155-70)] add to those shown in 1.1 [Sir John Fortescue on "The monarch and the law"] and 1.2 ["The consecration of the sovereign by anointing with oil"]?
Schweizer, who have not only written important monographs but have also edited the papers of such figures as Earl Waldegrave and the Duke of Devonshire.(8) Anderson tends, however, to lean heavily on secondary sources; for example, he cites only once Sir John Fortescue's edition of King George III's correspondence.(9) Consequently, as a work of British history Crucible of War is rather conventional.
Between 1468 and 1471, Sir John Fortescue, appointed Lord Chancellor by the Lancastrian government in exile, instructed the young Prince of Wales, Edward, the son of Henry VI, on the state of things as they were then and how he could improve on them when he was restored to his rightful place and became king.
The proverbial wisdom that "comparisons are odious" was first set down by John Fortescue in A Commendation of the Laws of England in 1471.
Black quotes the inevitable Sir John Fortescue, who claimed that England was a mixed and France an absolute monarchy.
In the last major division of the work Blythe turns to the influence of medieval mixed constitutionalism on thinkers such as the concfliarists, the Englishman John Fortescue, and the early republicans of Northern Italy, such as Contarini, Bruni, and Savonarola.
In chapter 3 Burns explores theories regarding lordship and kingship in England and France held by two fifteenth-century jurists: Jean de Terrevermeille and John Fortescue. The former was intent on justifying Dauphin Charles' right to the regency even after his incapable father's (Charles VD acquiescence in 1416 to Henry V's eventual succession to the French throne.