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The Fight for Democracy & the English Civil War
Transcript of The Fight for Democracy & the English Civil War
"Power tends to corrupt
and absolute Power corrupts absolutely"
- Lord Acton, 1887
For most of human history, democracy and
civil rights did NOT exist. Even today, democracy and
civil rights don't exist everywhere...
In Canada, the United States, and other countries though,
many democratic traditions came from England...
The Magna Carta
In England, the Magna Carta, signed in 1215 A.D.
Important landmark in England that eventually led
to democracy in Britain.
This great charter guaranteed the English
people certain civil rights.
The English monarch had to consult an elected
parliament and to rule lawfully.
civil war in
Between 1642 and 1651, the English fought a civil war to protect their rights.
A civil war is a war fought between citizens of the same country.
In the civil war, they beheaded an English King and became for a brief time a country without a monarch.
This form of government is known as a republic.
They later deposed a king in what is known as the "Glorious Revolution."
Bill of Rights
By end of the century, English Monarchs became required to accept a bill of rights.
This made England a Constitutional Monarchy, a government in which the monarch rules according to existing laws.
Creation of Bill of Rights important to Britain, Canada, and the United States.
People coming to North America brought democratic ideals shaped by the Bill of Rights.
As we will learn about in the next unit, France also influenced by English ideas about how countries should be governed.
Where did the English Civil war Take Place?
Took Place on Great Britain.
Separated from the rest of Europe by a body of water called the English Channel.
Britain encompasses three main regions: Scotland, Wales, and England.
North Britain is hilly, mountainous, and has only a little farmable land.
South Britain was low-lying, warmer, and well suited for farming.
English society in the seventeenth century
England becoming powerful and wealthy by the time Elizabeth I died in 1603.
After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, English ships were able to travel anywhere they wanted.
England was free to settle in and control the lands of others.
Became a colonizing nation and built colonies in North America, India,
and the Carribbean.
English society in the seventeenth century
Trade with these colonies and the rest of the world enriched England enormously.
English population rapidly grew.
English entrepreneurs (people involved in risky-but-profitable business like merchants, manufacturers, and landholders) found new opportunities and became wealthy.
English society becoming more unequal and divided.
Place the different types of people into the correct seventeenth century English social class. The 3 social classes are: upper class, middle class, and lower class.
King Military Officials
King Advisers Mill Workers
Church Officials (Bishops) Servants
Stone Masons Carpenter
Dress makers Regular Soldiers
Upper class: the king, king's advisers, nobles, and the high church officials such as bishops
Middle class: merchants, manufacturers, landowners, professionals, military officers, stone masons, carpenters, shopkeepers, and dress makers
Lower class: made up of thousands of ordinary workers, regular soldiers, servants, and farmers
How important do you think ships were to England during the
seventeenth century? What do you think they used them for?
Are ships an important method of transportation today?
- Take a look at Figure 2-4 and 2-5 in your textbooks (pgs. 22-23)
- What conclusions can you come to about English Society in the 17th
The middle class
English merchants went around the world bring back products to England
Skilled workers (carpenter, blacksmiths, stone masons, dressmakers)
could earn a reasonable wage and afford a good life.
Many belonged to organizations called guilds that protected their members
and looked after them.
The Lower class
Farmers and ordinary workers did not do as well as skilled workers.
Worked long hours for little pay.
Homes were small and cramped
with sometimes entire families living in one or two rooms.
Many lived in poverty
with little or no opportunity to improve their lives.
Widows with children especially suffered badly
with the loss of their husband's wage.
Poor lived mainly of bread and beer. Could afford meat or cheese sometimes.
Major changes occurring in English society during the seventeenth century
English diet and customs were changing rapidly because of goods and products arriving from around the world such as pineapple and chocolate
Members of the middle class aspired to join the upper class
While upper classes were wealthy enough to own valuable possessions, many among the lower classes barely made enough to survive
Opening of coffee houses gave men an opportunity to talk about politics and gossip while drinking imported coffee and imported tobacco
Class Collaborative T Chart Activity:
- Rearrange tables and/or seats so one person is directly facing
- With you group, work on a T Chart comparing the similarities and differences between seventeenth century British society and present day Canadian society
- Provide your ideas in point form and be sure to add a title!
- Move to the table/and or seat next to you when I say so
- Share ideas you already have written down and add some new
What do you think he means?
Do you agree or disagree? Why?(two-three reasons/examples)
True or False:
In 17th century England,
people believed witches always had big nose.
People believed witches were always women.
People suspected of witchcraft could only prove their innocence by being plunged into water until they died.
Witchhunters existed in seventeenth century England.
Religion in England
Religion very important
Majority of English protestant
Church of England (Anglicans)
the official church headed by
the Kings and Queens.
Supported by taxes from the people.
Puritans (Calvinists): opposed to
decorations and ceremonies of Anglican
Spread rapidly in 16th and 17th century.
Opposed luxury, drinking, gambling,
Believed laws needed to keep people from
Puritans Vs. church of england
At times tolerated.
Puritans allowed to have services
as long as they went to Anglican
At other times, Puritans were fined
and imprisoned by royal authorities.
Puritans soon began leaving Britain for Holland and America.
Considered personification of the devil.
Puritans considered women more than men
to be witches.
Believed them to be less able to resist evil.
Witch-Hunt hysteria occurred in England,
Scotland, and America.
Torture and execution common.
Single women and old wise women targeted.
Condemnation: ducked in water,
thumbs tied to toes, until they drowned
Others hanged, burned, and pressed.
Hysteria caused by fear.
Even educated people persuaded
to believe witches to be real and living
Imagine you needed to create a bill or rights for a class in order to protect yourself from a teacher like the one in this clip. He or she is super controlling and completely unreasonable. Worse, they punish students severely for the littlest things.
In groups of 4 create your own bill of rights
(six to eight) Be sure to explain why each right
is important to you.
Monarchy in England
Queen Elizabeth dies in 1603
Her nephew James Stuart becomes King of England
Stuart Kings dislike democratic traditions of England
Believes in absolute monarchy where Kings and Queens have unlimited power
Close ties to France and Catholic Church
Introduces idea of Divine Right of Kings to England
Divine Right of kings
Divine = Coming from God
Belief that monarchs were God's representative on Earth
Could not be questioned by "ordinary people"
Reign of King james I
Intimidated his subjects to gain their loyalty
Rewards bad advisers with titles
This upsets many English nobles
Always short of money
Allied with Church of England
Disliked the Puritans
Always suspicious of witches and witchcraft
After death, nation divided
Many powerful and angry people
divine rights activity
What do you think life would be like if one of you had the ”Divine Right?"
Prepare a 2-minute skit
Every member of your selected group must play a part
Be prepared to present to the class in 10 minutes
Reign of King Charles I
Son of James I becomes King
Believer in Divine Right of the Kings
Unwilling to compromise with the English Parliament
Married a Catholic...
Constantly looking for money
Raises money through corruption
Eventually faces rebellion and war
Beheaded by parliament
Think/Share/Brainstorm: Where is Charles sitting? What evidence is there from the picture that things will not go well for Charles I?
T/S/B: In this version of the trial, do you think Charles I was treated fairly? Why or why not.
T/S/B: In this version of the trial, do you think everyone in England was happy about Charles I being charged with treason? Are Charle's arguments more convincing than the court's? Why or why not?