Great Britain: Mum's 700th

In 1265, after defeating King Henry III at the battle of Lewes, Simon de Montfort, the ambitious French-born Earl of Leicester, summoned the barons, bishops and warrior knights of England to a national colloquy in London. To muster popular support for his cause among the new commercial classes, Montfort also took the unprecedented step of inviting each of the young nation's townships to send "two of their more discreet, lawful and trustworthy citizens or burgesses." By thus giving commoners a voice in government for the first time, Montfort, as Winston Churchill wrote, "lighted a fire never to be quenched in...

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