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The Nature of the English Revolution Revisited

The Nature of the English Revolution Revisited

Stephen Taylor
Grant Tapsell
Volume: 18
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    The Nature of the English Revolution Revisited
    Book Description:

    The nature of the seventeenth-century English revolution remains one of the most contested of all historical issues. Scholars are unable to agree on what caused it, when precisely it happened, how significant it was in terms of political, social, economic, and intellectual impact, or even whether it merits being described as a 'revolution' at all. Over the past twenty years these debates have become more complex, but also richer. This volume brings together new essays by a group of leading scholars of the revolutionary period and will provide readers with a provocative and stimulating introduction to current research. All the essays engage with one or more of three themes which lie at the heart of recent debate: the importance of the connection between individuals and ideas; the power and influence of religious ideas; and the most appropriate chronological context for discussion of the revolution. STEPHEN TAYLOR is Professor in the History of Early Modern England at the University of Durham. GRANT TAPSELL is Lecturer in Early Modern History, University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor at Lady Margaret Hall.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-127-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-ix)
    Stephen Taylor and Grant Tapsell
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. x-x)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. 1 Charles I and Public Opinion on the Eve of the English Civil War
    (pp. 1-26)
    Tim Harris

    In his biography of Archbishop Laud, penned in the 1650s, Peter Heylyn contrasted Queen Elizabeth’s skilful deployment of royal ceremonial to make herself ‘popular’ with ‘her People’ – ‘never Majesty and Popularity were so matched together’, he observed – with James I’s and Charles I’s failings in this regard. The result was catastrophic: ‘first a neglect of their Persons … and afterwards a mislike of their government’.¹ Writing on the eve of the Restoration, the marquess of Newcastle agreed that ‘Sere-money doth Every thing’, and therefore advised the soon-to-be Charles II to imitate Queen Elizabeth and show himself ‘gloryously, to [his] People’;...

  7. 2 Rethinking Moderation in the English Revolution: The Case of An Apologeticall Narration
    (pp. 27-52)
    Ethan H. Shagan

    One noteworthy feature of the English revolution was the desire of virtually all participants to claim the mantle of moderation. We might, depending upon the magnification of our scholarly lens, attribute this tendency either to the peculiarities of English political culture, or to the lingering Aristotelianism of the long European Renaissance, or to the almost infinite capacity of human beings for rationalization. But whatever the reason, it is striking that moderation was everywhere in early modern England’s bloodiest conflict, giving it a somewhat different tone or mood from later European revolutions. John Morrill described nearly four decades ago the intense...

  8. 3 The Parish and the Poor in the English Revolution
    (pp. 53-80)
    Tim Wales

    In October 1646, in the context of increasingly bitter political and religious conflicts within Norwich, the anonymous author of Vox Norwici defended the presbyterian ministers of the city against Independent claims that they had been neglecting their responsibilities towards the poor:

    our whole City knowes that our Ministers have ever, but especially of late laid downe the Doctrine of Charity, and Almes, almost in all their Sermons, and zealously pressed the care of the poore, even till they have reaped much ill will of divers; And god hath made their Ministry so successefull, as that the magistrates have doubled their...

  9. 4 Body Politics in the English Revolution
    (pp. 81-102)
    John Walter

    In early 1641, the fall of the king’s leading minister, the earl of Strafford, dominated the news. Unsurprisingly, Strafford’s fate was widely discussed by the writers of letters and pamphlets. But in reporting his trial and execution, a surprising amount of attention was paid to the gestures that marked Strafford’s passage from trial to execution.¹ According to one account, both at his appearance and departure from the Tower, Strafford returned the crowds’ salutes, ‘with great humility and courtesie’. But the Scot Robert Baillie reported that at his departure that day this gesture was not reciprocated: there was ‘no man capping...

  10. 5 The Franchise Debate Revisited: The Levellers and the Army
    (pp. 103-122)
    Philip Baker

    Can there be anything left to say about the so-called franchise debate? It is now fifty years since C. B. Macpherson, in a provocative chapter in The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism, controversially rejected the traditional view of the Levellers as advocates of universal male suffrage. Based on his reading of the Putney debates and the Levellers’ pamphlets and petitions, Macpherson argued that the Levellers consistently supported restrictive franchise proposals that would have excluded all those who, in their opinion, had forfeited their birthright by alienating their property in their labour: namely, beggars, almsmen and servants, with Macpherson taking the...

  11. 6 Oliver Cromwell and the Instrument of Government
    (pp. 123-150)
    Blair Worden

    The Instrument of government, the document which ratified the elevation of Oliver Cromwell to the office of lord protector on 16 December 1653, has a distinctive place in English political history. It was the nation’s first written constitution.¹ Except for the Humble Petition and Advice, which replaced it in 1657,² it has been the only one. Perhaps the term ‘written constitution’, which might have been barely intelligible at the time, will seem too grand for either text, at least if it suggests either a start from scratch or a guarantee of static or permanent arrangements. Both documents took for granted...

  12. 7 ‘de te Fabula narratur’: The Narrative Constitutionalism of James Harrington’s Oceana
    (pp. 151-174)
    J. C. Davis

    While the importance of James Harrington’s Oceana is generally acknowledged, its meaning and intention, status and context have been the subject of three major controversies in the last sixty years. The first of these was about the work’s linking of property and power and the meaning of Harrington’s attempt to stabilise the relationship between them through an Agrarian Law. The second concerned the nature and sources of his republicanism. The third relates to the ambiguity of the work’s dedication to Oliver Cromwell. Was Harrington sceptical or optimistic in relation to the lord protector’s ability to act in the public interest,...

  13. 8 Democracy in 1659: Harrington and the Good Old Cause
    (pp. 175-196)
    Rachel Foxley

    Between the death of Oliver Cromwell in September 1658 and the return of Charles Stuart as Charles II in May 1660, political reversals and upheavals succeeded each other with astonishing speed. A fresh phase of contestation of the protectorate under Richard Cromwell was ended by the power of the army, as was the restored Rump which followed from May to October 1659. Beyond that point expedients failed and a succession of restorations – first of the Rump and then of the Long Parliament’s excluded members – paved the way for the return of the Stuart monarchy.¹ Historians have tended to characterize the...

  14. 9 The Restoration of the Church of England, 1660–1662: Ordination, Re-ordination and Conformity
    (pp. 197-232)
    Kenneth Fincham and Stephen Taylor

    Modern accounts of the re-establishment of the Church of England in 1660–2 have usually focussed on the politics of court and parliament, on set pieces such as the Worcester House and Savoy conferences, and on the revival of cathedral communities and the machinery of diocesan government. Ordination, by contrast, has been largely neglected. Robert Bosher declared that it was ‘not a major issue’; other historians have noted that re-ordination, namely the requirement that presbyterians take episcopal orders to remain within the ministry, was highly contentious and that its inclusion in the Act of Uniformity of 1662 helped to swell...

  15. 10 Style, Wit and Religion in Restoration England
    (pp. 233-260)
    John Spurr

    This paper elevates style above substance. It speculates on the significance of literary style in debates over religious difference during the reign of Charles II, and it does so because contemporaries frequently remarked upon an author’s ‘style’. The notorious clerical controversialist Samuel Parker boasted ‘a brave, flourishing, lofty stile’ or, to another’s mind, ‘writ in a stile so vindictive and poynant’, while Simon Patrick displayed a ‘flouting, scoffing, jeering style’, and Andrew Marvell ‘led the way’ in the fashion for ‘a buffooning, burlesquing and ridiculing way and stile’.¹ ‘Your style is so Exasperating,’ complained a critic of John Eachard’s writings:...

  16. 11 A British Patriarchy? Ecclesiastical Imperialism under the Later Stuarts
    (pp. 261-284)
    Grant Tapsell

    Twenty years ago John Morrill offered a searching and combative account of the interactions between the state Churches of England, Scotland, and Ireland under the early Stuarts in a festschrift for Patrick Collinson.¹ Conrad Russell was wrong to delineate efforts to achieve English ecclesiastical hegemony across the British Isles: there was simply no court-based, Laudian plan to entrench a ‘British patriarchy’ that would subordinate the Churches of Scotland and Ireland to control from Canterbury. In keeping with Morrill’s broader thinking on ‘the British problem’, this was certainly not to deny significant and increasingly controversial interactions between the three kingdoms.² James...

  17. Index
    (pp. 285-296)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 297-299)