In many respects this book, first published in 1961, marked a somewhat radical departure from contemporary historical writings. It is neither a constitutional nor a political history, but a historical definition and explanation of the main features which characterised the three kinds of government which can be discerned in the Middle Ages – government by the Pope, the King, the People. The author’s enviable knowledge of the sources – clerical, secular, legal, constitutional, liturgical, literary – as well as of modern literature enables him to demonstrate the principles upon which the papal government, the royal government, and the government of the people rested. He shows how the traditional theocratic forms of government came to be supplanted by forms of government based on the will of the people. Although concerned with the Middle Ages, the book also contains much that is of topical interest to the discerning student of modern institutions. Medieval history is made understandable to modern man by modern methods.
"Dr Ullmann needs no introduction to medievalists, who have long been indebted to his magisterial studies of political and theological thought in the Middle Ages … all medievalists once again owe deep gratitude to Dr Ullmann, who makes them re-examine many too easily accepted conclusions and points them to many new avenues of thoughts, deserving exploration." - Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"This is a work by a fine scholar writing primarily for scholars; but anyone interested in our modern problems of law and government will find study of this book well worth the effort." - Daily Telegraph
"Discerning students of modern political institutions will realize that this study raises questions that were relevant way beyond the Middle Ages. The volume will be of interest for both graduate students and faculty alike." - Lavinia Stan, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms
Part I: The Pope 1. Introduction 2. Foundations 3. The Secular Prince and Papal Law 4. Assessment of Papal Principles Part II: The King 5. Theocratic Kingship 6. Limitations of Theocratic Kingship 7. Feudal Kingship in England 8. Theocratic Kingship in France Part III: The People 9. Popular Associations 10. Towards Populism 11. The Legislative Sovereignty of the People 12. Applications and Implications of Populism