The long-drawn-out conflict between parliament and the four Stuart kings, based on money and religious difficulties, was to transform England into the first modern constitutional monarchy, with the House of Commons, not the king, the real ruler. The disturbances brought about by this Parliamentary conflict were to give impetus to the planting on the Atlantic coast of North America of some of the sturdiest colonies any nation has ever owned. Ever since the Norman Conquest, England had been drawn into Continental problems and had developed, despite her insular peculiarities, on the same general pattern as the rest of western Europe. Now she was to turn in the opposite direction. In a period which has been called "the Age of Absolutism" in Continental history, a time when royal autocracy was reaching its height in the chief European countries, the English Parliament was to force the crown to submit to its domination.
(from A History of England and the British Empire)