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Lecture 2: The Paradoxy of the 18th Century

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McGill University
HIST 383
Brian Cowan

Lecture 2 The Paradoxy of the 18th CenturyProfessor Brian CowanDate September 7 2011The Long 18th Century16601832the eighteenth century begins in 1660 the 18th century begins halfway through the 17th century alternatively 1688 or the Hanoverian succession of 1714 periodization time periods look different depending on how we classify them when does this session begin and end fun to argue about 1660 the date of the restoration of the monarchy Charles II revolutions of 16401660 haunts the rest of the 18th c tried to go back to the way things were before the civil wars people had enough of the bloodshed the paradox restoration can never fully work because the trauma of the last 20 years remains another paradox Britain is the first modern society but still one of the most traditional at the beginning of the century the country was a madhouse to the other European nations the breakdown sets up a system that is trying to adapt itself and not go back to the crisis years no relapse into regicide and civil war instead of revolution reform is received reform becomes the new theme of the long 18th century scarred by experience of civil war and revolution but never relapses in spite of some sketchy times 1649 regicide of King Charles I Parliament passes a sentence and carries it out on January 30 remembered throughout the century becomes a national day of mourning with sermons and reminders of the national sin of regicide that took placethis continues throughout the century monarchy in 1660 looks like a strong state emerged from war in a highly militarized state and raises a monetary system to support itself state revenue is used to fund armies usually as a consequence of constant warfare the armies are highly trained and awesome when it started everyone was an amateur now the armies are at the service of the restored monarchy the fear of another revolution kept the ruling elite together sovereign power had been the Westminster Parliament returned to the monarchy but still has a Parliamentary election immediately monarchy then rules in conjunction with Parliament new source of conflict who has what power processes of restoration and reform when hand in hand
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