A ‘rising of the people’?
The Oxfordshire rising of 1596
in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
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The Oxfordshire rising appeared at first glance a crumbling cornerstone upon which to elaborate an argument for the association between distress and disorder in the crisis of the 1590s. It offers valuable insights into the nature of social and political relationships in early modern England. The Oxfordshire rising, though stillborn, had important consequences for the history of early modern England and for how historians interpret that history. Events in Oxfordshire in 1596 were, in the words of a French historian of the crisis of the 1590s, 'la tentative de soulèvement paysan'. They seem scarcely to merit their inclusion in a recent roll-call of peasant revolts in early modern Europe. The failure of the rising is all the more striking. Deciphering this conundrum, will be argued but, can contribute to an understanding of the larger discrepancy between the growth of poverty and decline in disorder increasingly into the seventeenth century.

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