Introduction
Mark Kishlansky’s revolution
in Revolutionising politics
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Mark Kishlansky spent his life fascinated with politics. Early in his career, he mapped the rise of ‘adversary politics’ in the 1640s out of what he saw as a previously consensual political culture. He thus became a leading figure associated with ‘revisionism’ in seventeenth-century English history. Over time, Kishlansky’s interests drew him to the cultural history of politics, but he did not take the cultural turn. He operated with a grounding presupposition about humanness: that individuals’ choices matter, and in a monarchical society, no individual’s choices mattered more than the king’s. Taking monarchy seriously was the ultimate expression of Kishlansky’s central commitment: to understand past historical actors on their own terms. Doing so would revolutionise our understanding of politics. The essays in this book aspire to a paradoxical kind of historiographical revolution: one sparked by analytic modesty. As Kishlansky would have wanted it, they address particulars: practices and moments, authors and arguments that indicate the lineaments of revolution. Instead of wrestling with the hoary question of why a revolution happened in the 1640s and 1650s, they speak to how revolution worked. Taken together, they suggest the diversity of interest and ecumenism of method that reflects the state of the field and Mark Kishlansky’s own approaches to political history.

Revolutionising politics

Culture and conflict in England, 1620–60

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