Triennial Act (156 words)

Historical Context Note

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This act (6 & 7 Wm. & Mar. c. 2) set the maximum duration of English parliaments to three years, the short duration being intended by Parliament to put a brake on any monarchical tendencies towards absolutism: earlier Triennial Acts in 1641 and 1664 had had similar ambitions but that of 1664 had been violated by Charles II from 1684 to 1688 and by James II from 1688 to 1699.

Before the third Triennial Act was repealed by the Septennial Act of 1716, there would be nine elections.  One effect of such regular elections, combined with a franchise that now embraced some 20% of males, was markedly to increase the importance of political propaganda, therefore the role of journalists.  In 1705 there were 22 newspapers and periodicals …

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Editors. "Triennial Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 February 2006
[, accessed 21 January 2018.]

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