January 6, 2014
HIS 236: British History
Office: 297 NE
17 century – Present day.
Christopher Hill: Century of Revolution, 1603 – 1689
-in 1603, England wasn’t anywhere people wanted to be.
-in 1689, England was a place people would comfortably live (with constitution, government,
individual rights, religious toleration).
-2 violent social and political revolution
-English revolution - 1602-1649 (1649: Charles I gets executed, judged by his parliament
and court of law to be a traitor. He broke England’s constitution [first king to be executed in this
-Glorious revolution – 1688-1689 (James II flees from England, overthrown by
-The great conflict: Constitutionalism vs. Absolutism
-“Constitutionalism”: a government where the law is the highest power, not the arbitrary
whim of the king.
-“Absolutism”: a government run by a divine right monarch – a monarch not accountable
to the law. (power resides in the hands of the ruler; they get power from God alone; they are
responsible to God, not the people; they rely on the noble classes. Might call it tyranny)
-Kings vs parliamentary classes
-Political Ideologies of the 17 century
-Parliamentarian slogan: “liberty and Protestantism.” The ancient constitution protects
their liberty. Political authority resides in parliament. (the law predates the king, therefore the
king cannot arbitrarily change the law) -Supporters of King: “popery and arbitrary government.” (ascribed to them by their
opposers) This is the opposite of the A/C and (parl) rule.
-England as we know it is mainly due to the protestant revolution.
-1534: England first state to become officially protestant.
-Parliamentarian classes enjoy Protestantism.
-17 century: Roman Catholicism was believed to completely roll out or destroy Protestantism.
-What is arbitrary government? A government where the king’s whim (arbitrary whim) is law.
Wipes out the historic, ancient power of parliament.
-What is “popery”? Following roman Catholicism. Imposing this “alien” religion on the English
-“Free” and protestant or absolute and Catholic?
-popery was horrifying, afraid of satanic darkness. (Parliamentarians see Catholicism as satanic
-Charles I r. 1625-1649. Assault on parliament
-takes subsidies (taxes, property) from parliament for war but fails to go to war.
-imprisons English subjects without cause. (absolutism)
-puts soldiers in people’s houses.
-promotes the duke of Buckingham (a nobody) to admiral of the Navy with no naval
-11 years tyranny, rules without parliament. (1629-1620)
-imposes new religion on English and Scottish people (looks exactly like roman
-english and Scottish people rise up against him and in 1649 he is beheaded.
-Oliver Cromwell and the creation of a Republic 1649 – 1660, Restoration, 1660, Charles II
-Oliver: bringing back the power of the parliament.
-Cromwell tries to purify English church, the English people aren’t too excited.
-King comes back; Republic did not work out. Charles II becomes king (1660 – 1685,
development of political parties)
-James II 1685 – 1689 -Toleration for Catholics (unacceptable to parliamentary classes)
-makes Catholics army generals (problematic: enemies are Catholic, what is preventing
these catholic general from turning against th