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2 England’s Revolutionary Era.doc

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McGill University
HIST 215
Sarah Waurechen

Thursday, January 10, 2013 England’s Revolutionary Era Question: Were the British Civil Wars or the Glorious Revolution more historically significant? I. Background: 17th Century England A. Characteristics 1. Internationally Irrelevant 2. Poor 3. Undemocratic 4. But not absolutist 5. Protestant B. The King is the head of the political system because he is divinely appointed by god 1. Because he is born into it C. Everyone has their place and deviation in this causes chaos D. Parliament: Two Houses 1. House of Lords a) More important house b) Political access comes from birthright not money or merit 2. House of Commons a) Technically elected but usually only one guy running E. Taxation has to be consented to by the parliament 1. So if the King needs money this is where he must go to 2. He especially needs money in times of war F. Prerogatives 1. Allowed the king to act outside of the law in specific circumstances 2. England is governed by the common law a) By precedent not a written code so its based on the customs of the land (1) They have therefore evolved over time b) They cannot be altered by the will of the monarch alone c) So the sovereign is part of the system not above it (1) The crown is regulated by existing laws (2) To make new laws it must work with parliament G. England is Protestant (Calvinist) 1. Reject the pope as the head (antichrist) a) Anti-popery 2. Less hierarchical form of Christianity 3. Sets itself up in direct opposition of the Catholic Church British Civil Wars (1642-1648) I. What happened A. Divine monarchy was becoming absolute (arbitrary - not following the laws of the land) so forward seeking Protestants constitutionalists fought against this and won 1. Long term process II. Long term, short term causes and triggers A. Long term causes 1. Crown and Solvency a) As the gov. grew, the modes for financing it adapted, the crown was poor and could barely pay for itself in times of war. 2. Religion a) Protestant, had to go through a reformation, had to decide what their values would be, since then there had been debates about how ceremonial they should be and how much hierarchy they should have 3. Ideology a) Rights of the crown vis a vis parliament b) The king did have certain prerogatives that allowed him to act outside of the law, but should act in conjunction with parliament c) So there are debates about the extent of the monarchs privileges and when parliament ends and royal authority begins B. Short Term Causes 1. Charles I a) He got into a fight with parliament and dissolved it before they had granted him the right to collect taxes as was traditional at the start of every new reign (1) He collected taxes anyway: was seen to have been acting unlawfully (2) He acted according to the letter of the law not its spirit in gaining money b) Too attached to controversial advisors (1) They encouraged popery (Catholicism) and arbitrary rule (outside law) c) Charles had a tendency to listen to advice and then do the opposite (1) This undermined his credibility and trustworthiness d) Upon not being able to compromise with parliament, in 1629 he made the decision to rule without them for 11 year (11 years tyranny) e) Took a catholic bride (1) People thought she had too much influence over him and over the court (2) His archbishop of Canterbury (second in command) William Laud (a) Emphasized ceremonialism and hierarchical authority (b) Problem: This sounds too much like catholicism (c) Not erected through parliament but rather prerogative i) So many thought he was moving away from the rule of law C. Triggers 1. Bishop Wars a) 1638-1640 Charles tries to impose religious wars in Scotland (1) Sounds like Laudianism b) Scottish reformation is Presbyterian - very defensive of their faith c) So when Charles comes, the Scots rebel d) Charles was forced to recall parliament to get money to fight e) First temporarily and then the Long Parliament (starts in 1640) (1) He is hoping the British will hate the Scots, but instead they say let the Scots come - we want to discuss 11 years of grievances (2) Parliament and the king begin negotiating the balance of power f) 1640 the Scots win the war (1) So Charles has no choice (a) The elimination of courts based on royal prerogative alone (b) Charles promises to call parliament more consistently and listen (c) Parliament can no longer be arbitrarily dissolved at his will (d) So the scale is tipping in favor of parliamentary authority (e) By 1641 they are on the verge of reaching a compromise 2. Irish Rebellion a) 1641 the Irish rebel (1) The King and parliament both agree that something must be done (a) But neither trust the other with military force b) 1642 Charles leaves London & declares civil war against parliament III. The War itself A. How did people pick sides 1. Textbook: Based on their rank: nobility followed the King and those who had something to gain backed parliament in this progressive battle - not really though 2. England was split down the middle: there were many different reasons for choosing a) The dominant one was religion though: church of England (King) zealous Protestants who wanted to further reformation (parliament) b) I.e Charles’groom of the stool fought for parliament B. War initially goes in the King’s favor 1. Although both sides are very disorganized (All sorts of problems with weaponry) 2. Desperate English parliamentarians sign with the Scots for aid C. July 1644 enter ScottishArmy Battle of Moarskimoore 1. Turnaround - decisive win for parliament 2. They don’t give the Scots any credit though so they fall out of favor D. 1645 creation of the New ModelArmy 1. Important for military history because its highly disciplined 2. Force fueled by focused religious devotion 3. Many parliamentarians are puritans a) Zealous radical protestants who believe in furthering the reformation 4. Also centralized a) The parliamentarian armies were head by different generals with different visions and forces who refused to leave regional boundaries b) By centralizing, they got a unified direction and men willing to go where needed 5. Lead by Oliver Cromwell a) Puritan and very charismatic b) Successful military commander (1) Leads the army through military victories (2) Sense that god is backing their cause - parliament E. 1648 war ends with the King’s surrender 1. Refuses to bargain though 2. They are unable to reach a compromise before he escapes F. Second civil war that lasts until 1648 IV. Consequences A. 4% of the soldiers died B. People pay higher taxes C. People who have to provide provisions and accommodations as troops pass through D. People have a new sense of investment in their political system 1. Inflates the idea of representative
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