Introduction
in Civil war London
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The book begins with a brief review of the historiography of civil war London. Contemporary authors such as the earl of Clarendon and Thomas Hobbes saw the “rebellious city” as chiefly to blame for the conflict, in that it provided the support necessary for parliament to go to war with the king. This explanation is still broadly accepted today, but revisionist scholars such as Valerie Pearl, Stephen Porter, and Keith Lindley have offered significant challenges that emphasize the divisions that existed within the City’s population. Their accounts have been bolstered by recent work on the civil war and revolution that reconceptualizes the ways in which people participated in the conflict, shifting the emphasis from the long-term causes of the war to people’s particular mobilizations. The chapter proceeds to lay out the approach of the book, which seeks to use the full range of contemporary media to relate the dynamics of metropolitan mobilization in the early 1640s. This media includes parochial records, company records, and an abundance of manuscript sources, from petitions and private correspondences to lampooning songs. What emerges are “topographies of mobilization,” rough sketches of London’s participatory political landscape.

Civil war London

Mobilizing for parliament, 1641– 5

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