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The 17th Century: The Stuarts, The Civil Wars and the Glorious Revolution

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Henry Allen

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of The 17th Century: The Stuarts, The Civil Wars and the Glorious Revolution

The 17th Century: The Stuarts, Civil War and the Glorious Revolution
Today's Lecture:
The Stuarts
The Civil Wars (1642-1651)
The Glorious Revolution

2 Major Aspects:
Politics: Parliament rules the monarch
Religion: Protestantism becomes dominant religion
The Stuarts & the Union of Crowns
James VI & I
Union of Crowns 1603:
A personal union only
How to govern two old enemies?
Closer institutional union
'Perfect' Union or 'Union of Love' - very British
Unsuccessful, but Union of Crowns survived:
A remarkable achievement...!
The 'Union Jack'/Union Flag
Charles I
Determined to rule as a British monarch
Personal Rule
One (Anglican) British Church
Unpopular Policies:
'Creative' financial solutions
Introduced episcopacy in Scotland:
provokes a reaction from the Presbyterian Scots
The Civil Wars
'Bishops War' (1639)
Conflict with Puritans (English Calvinists) in Parliament
'Short Parliament' (1640) (Lasted 3 weeks)
'Long Parliament' (1640-1660) interrupted...but out lives Charles
Royalists (Cavaliers) versus Parliamentarians (Roundheads), why?
Power of the King and Religion
Charles I surrenders to Scots in 1646 -handed over to English Army in 1647
Victory for the Parliamentarians, and the war at an end?
Battle at Naseby (1645)
The War of the Three Kingdoms: Part 2
Victors fall out amongst themselves - Charles I initiates 'second civil war' from captivity - royalists defeated again
Charles executed 30 January 1649 for 'treason against his people'
Scots reach agreement with Prince of Wales (future Charles II)
All opposition in Scotland and Ireland crushed by Cromwell by 1653
What to do next?
Monarchy is abolished and sovereignty held to have passed to Parliament alone - Britain becomes a REPUBLIC
Cromwell and the British Republic
Republican Britain: Parliamentary rule through the Commonwealth?
Real power rested with the army in an English military dictatorship
1653: Cromwell dissolves parliament
A written constitution is drafted:
The 'Instrument of Government'
Still a parliament, but also:
An elected 'Lord Protector'
Advised by a 'Council of State'
Part 1:
The English Revolution
The Republic lasted from 1649 to 1660, and thus became an 'Interregnum'
Unstable and unpopular Regime
Relied on the persona of Cromwell - died in 1658, succeeded by son Richard, who was not as capable a leader
Richard forced to resign in 1659, chaos as factions of the army fought each other
Monarchy restored in 1660
Lasting effect of the republican experiment none the less?
View: reinforces the position of Parliament
The Restoration 1660
The Restoration: a return to pre-war government and society
- Everything as it has been? Not quite...
Charles II had to accept restrictions on monarchy, particularly with respect to the raising of money...
Charles II: Skilful politician and the 'Merry Monarch'
Problems related to the succession (again....!):
Charles had no children with his wife the Queen (Catherine of Braganza)
Brother James set to inherit the throne, but he was openly Catholic...
Opposition to James would lead to the forming of the Whigs and the Tories
Book of Common Prayer (1662) - further impact on the spread of the English language throughout the Empire (official prayer book)
Roundheads vs Cavaliers - Which one are you?
Roundheads supported the ascent of Parliament - but were a little 'boring'
Cavaliers supported the monarchy - but were more 'fun'
Whigs and Tories
Popish Plot 1678
Supposed Catholic plot to murder Charles II - false alarm
Exclusion crisis 1679-81
Attempt to 'exclude' Charles II's brother James from succession- unsuccessful
Opponents and supporters of James organised into political 'parties' (or factions), the 'Whigs' and the 'Tories' respectively
Derogatory terms used by the opposing side:
Whigs: Scottish Presbyterian rebels during the civil wars
Tories: Group of Irish bandits, also during the civil wars
James II
Charles II's brother
Becomes King in 1685
Openly Catholic
Catholics in public offices - Religion
Strengthening royal power - Absolutism?
Catholic heir 1688
'the warming pan baby'
The Glorious Revolution
Reaction to James II's policies by leading English politicians/aristocrats
Mary Stuart & William of Orange (Dutch 'Stadtholder')
On invitation: William lands force at Torbay in Cornwall
James II flees to France, throne is 'vacant'
William & Mary: Joint monarchs
Accept Bill of Rights + restrictions on royal power
Beginnings of a 'Constitutional Monarchy'?
What was the GR really all about?
1. 'Whiggish' explanation/view:
GR the basis for the 'best political system in the world' - Britain avoided the tyranny of absolutism
2. Marxist explanation/view:
English revolution was a capitalist/bourgeoisie revolution; GR a 'palace coup' of little significance
3. Revisionist/Modern explanation/view:
GR was CRUCIAL, but mainly for its unintended and long-term consequences
- 1 & 2 focuses mostly on the actual events, whilst 3 takes a longer perspective into account
Resulted in:
Establishment of both Protestantism and Parliamentarism in Britain
No Royal Interference with Law
Parliament must agree to new Taxes
Ability to petition monarch without retribution
No standing Army to be maintained during peacetime
Right to bear arms
'Freedom of speech' in parliament
Punishments AFTER conviction, not before
Punishments must be 'reasonable'
Important part of 'Unwritten British Constitution'
Aspects of both are said to underpin 'Britishness' today
Parliament in the UK
Political & Religious thought....
Development of radicalism - Diggers and Levellers
Gerrard Winstanley (1609-1676)
Radical reading of Bible : proto-communists
Film by Kevin Brownlow 'Winstanley'
The authority of Parliament was cemented in the 17th C
But prior to this when did parliaments happen, and who called them?
Called by the King/Queen - in addition to 'Privy Councils' - advisers (HoC & HoL, and Religious Figures)
Privy Councils used to be very powerful - now not but part of institutional framework.
Whenever the Monarch decided - sometimes long breaks between parliaments...years.
17th Century saw more established institution
- Short Parliament (1640)
- Long Parliament (1640 -1660)
- Parliamentarians win - parliament superior to monarch
- 'Rump Parliament' (1648-1653) - sat without monarch
- Hostage, Black Rod and The State Opening of Parliament
- Parliament of Great Britain - 1707 - England + Scotland...shortly.
Henry Allen
Gunpowder Plot
November 5th 1605
Plot to Kill James, Privy Council and Protestant Aristocracy
by Catholics!
They were caught and tried
But still celebrated today - only 'non-religious' national holiday
'Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night' - celebrating failure...very 'British'.
Arguably the most influential book on English language and Culture in history
King James Bible (1611):
John Locke
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