This book seeks to locate the London presbyterian movement in the metropolitan, parliamentarian and British politics of the mid-seventeenth-century crisis. It explores the emergence of the presbyterian movement in London from the collapse of Charles I’s monarchy, the movement’s influence on the parliamentarian political struggles of the civil war and interregnum and concludes by looking at the beginnings of Restoration nonconformity. The work covers the political, intellectual and social history of the London presbyterian movement, looking at the development of ideas of presbyterian church government and political theory, as well as exploring the London presbyterians’ mobilisation and organisation to establish their vision of reforming the Reformation. The work addresses the use of the ‘information revolution’ in the British revolution, analysing religious disputation, the political use of rumour and gossip and the interface between oral and written culture. It argues that the London presbyterian movement, whose participants are often the foils to explorations of other individuals or groups in historical writing, was critical to the dynamic of the politics of the period.
'Politics' with a big 'P' is concerned with how we, individuals and
groups, relate to the state. This book commences with a definition of political
activity with a focus on conflict, and government and democracy. Britain is,
arguably, the oldest democracy in the world, though it took many centuries for
it to evolve into its current 'representative' form. Conflict
resolution depends on the political system involved. The book draws together all
the elements of government, explaining the British system of governance, which
is democracy but utilises representatives. Civil service advises ministers and
carries out the day- to-day running of government. The book then describes the
transformation of the British system of governance from an absolute monarchy to
a representative democracy. It examines how economic changes have affected
Britain over the centuries, and presents some thoughts on the absence of a
modern British revolution. It presents an account of Britain's economic
history, the class developments and differences, and the absence of a modern
revolution despite astonishing levels of income inequality. Factors that might
influence the political culture of Britain are discussed next. The book also
touches upon the sources of British constitution, the process of constitutional
amendments prevailing in the U.S. and Britain, current British politics, and the
development of pressure groups in Britain. Finally, the history of party
government in Britain, and details of the Conservative Party, Labour Party, the
Social and Liberal Democrats, House of Commons, and Britain's international
relations are discussed.
Orchestrating English polemics in Paris and The Hague, 1645–8
soever they were proved, they ever get ground by them’. Two months later, both men were in a better mood, and Nicholas thanked Browne ‘for your care expressed in procuring the true relation … to be put into this weeks Gazette’. 1 This seems an ordinary episode of the bitter polemical warfare during the BritishRevolution, but in fact it reveals a much more dramatic picture, one that scholars are only now beginning to appreciate. After all, the Gazette in question was nothing less than Theophraste Renaudot’s celebrated Recueil des Gazettes Nouvelles Ordinaires et
This chapter examines how economic changes have affected Britain over the centuries, and presents some thoughts on the absence of a modern Britishrevolution.
Political structures like elections and legislative institutions provide the shell within which political activity is conducted. What goes on within depends upon the kind of society and economy a nation has and, ultimately, how its political system evolves and copes with challenges. For example, if a country’s economy is primitive, its political processes will be very different from those in a country
somewhat remiss promises to use the royal prerogative to protect loyal presbyterians, in part
explains the disengagement of the presbyterian leaders at the Savoy conference and the
relatively peaceful acceptance of Black Bartholomew’s day.
I began this study by suggesting that the London presbyterian movement was
a historical failure, but one that revealed much of the nature of the Britishrevolutions.
The failure of the London presbyterian movement, however, does not mean that it did not leave
English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.
The far left in Britain from 1956
Evan Smith and Matthew Worley
Against the grain: th
In 1972, Tariq Ali, editor of the radical newspaper Black Dwarf and
leading figure in the International Marxist Group (IMG), wrote in the
introduction to his book, The Coming BritishRevolution:
The only real alternative to capitalist policies is provided by the revolutionary left groups as a whole. Despite their smallness and despite their
many failings, they represent the only way forward.1
At the time, the British left appeared in the ascendancy
Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c.
position that the church (or churches) should serve the community of faithful. Such concerns and ambitions revealed the many contradictions and
paradoxes within the post-Reformation politics of religion.
In the environment of the Britishrevolutions, these debates on church
polity impacted on many of the crucial questions of the era. Key among these
issues were: whether the Reformation had come to an end, or was further
reformation necessary? What stress, if any, should be put on the credal notes
Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic
: they were much more strongly committed to a mixed constitution.
49 J. Coffey, Politics, Religion and the BritishRevolutions: The Mind of Samuel Rutherford
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 171 with footnote; Woodhouse, p. ;
P. Zagorin, A History of Political Thought in the English Revolution (London: Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1954), pp. 5–6.
50 Coffey, Politics, Religion and the BritishRevolutions, pp. 150, 163, 170, 173–4.
51 Samuel Rutherford, Lex, Rex (1644), pp. 10, 50.
The importance of the covenant in Scottish presbyterianism, 1560–c.
R. Scott Spurlock
Rutherford, The covenant of life opened, pp. 82–3.
Ibid., p. 83.
S. A. Burrell, ‘The covenant idea as a revolutionary symbol: Scotland, 1596–
1637’, CH, 27:4 (1958) 338–50, 342–3.
George Gillespie, The humble representation of the commission of the generall
assembly to the honourable estates of Parliament (1648), p. 26.
Samuel Rutherford, A survey of the survey of church discipline (1658), p. 75;
Rutherford, The covenant of life opened, p. 94; John Coffey, Politics, religion and
the Britishrevolutions: the mind of Samuel Rutherford (Cambridge: Cambridge