Het gezag van 'mijnheer de voorzitter' in de parlementaire cultuur van de negentiende eeuw
The authority of ‘Mr. Speaker’ in nineteenth-century Dutch parliamentary culture
The contemporary authority of the Speaker of the Second Chamber is obvious. His presence, for example, is repeatedly evoked with the enchanting mantra ‘Mister Speaker’ [‘Mijnheer de voorzitter’], even though the Speaker hardly ever has anything to say concerning content. In the nineteenth century — the so-called ‘age of parliamentarianism’ — presidential authority was not a matter of course and was an important subject of political debate that lasted for decades. This article investigates the struggle for authority through the words and deeds of representatives, Speakers and political commentators. This quest for exemplary chairmanship resulted in a number of parliamentary rules, rituals and (invented) traditions. These will prove that, far from being a matter of course, the authority of ‘Mr. Speaker’ was in fact a wily construction.
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