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Edward Coke

(1552—1634) lawyer, legal writer, and politician

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English lawyer and politician. He rose to the position of Lord Chief Justice (1613), prosecuting such defendants as Essex (1601) and the Gunpowder Plot conspirators (1606). In 1616 James I dismissed him, since, at first a supporter of the royal prerogative, Coke had become a defender of the common law against church and crown: as a Member of Parliament he led opposition to James I and Charles I. He was largely responsible for drafting the Petition of Right (1628) and wrote commentaries on medieval and contemporary English law.

Subjects: History

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