The eighteenth century was long deemed ‘the classical age of the constitution’ in Britain, with cabinet government based on a two-party system of Whigs and Tories in Parliament, and a monarchy whose powers had been emasculated by the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689. This study furthers the work of Sir Lewis Namier, who, in 1929, argued that no such party system existed, George III was not a cypher, and that Parliament was an administration composed of factions and opposition. George III is a high-profile and well-known character in British history, whose policies have often been blamed for the loss of Britain's American colonies, around whom rages a perennial dispute over his aims: was he seeking to restore royal power or merely exercising his constitutional rights? This is a chronological survey of the first ten years of his reign through power politics and policy making.
This book explores the life, thought and political commitments of the free-thinker John Toland (1670–1722). Studying both his private archive and published works, it illustrates how he moved in both subversive and elite political circles in England and abroad. The book explores the connections between Toland's republican political thought and his irreligious belief about Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical establishment and divine revelation, arguing that far from being a marginal and insignificant figure, he counted queens, princes and government ministers as his friends and political associates. In particular, Toland's intimate relationship with the Electress Sophia of Hanover saw him act as a court philosopher, but also as a powerful publicist for the Hanoverian succession. The book argues that he shaped the republican tradition after the Glorious Revolution into a practical and politically viable programme, focused not on destroying the monarchy but on reforming public religion and the Church of England. It also examines how Toland used his social intimacy with a wide circle of men and women (ranging from Prince Eugene of Savoy to Robert Harley) to distribute his ideas in private. The book explores the connections between his erudition and print culture, arguing that his intellectual project was aimed at compromising the authority of Christian ‘knowledge’ as much as the political power of the Church. Overall, it illustrates how Toland's ideas and influence impacted upon English political life between the 1690s and the 1720s.
Seventeenth-century England saw the Puritan upheaval of the 1640s and 1650s and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. These crises often provoked colonial reaction, indirectly by bringing forth new ideas about government. The colonies' existence was a testament to accumulated capital and population and to a widespread desire to employ both for high and mundane ends. The growth of population and production, the rise of new and the decline of old trades were important features of 17th-century American and English history. This book presents a study that brings attention back to a century when the word imperialism had not even been coined, let alone acquired the wealth of meanings it has now. The study covers the North American and West Indian colonies as well as England. Research on American sources concentrated on the main settlements of Massachusetts, Virginia, Barbados and Jamaica, their public records, printed and manuscript correspondence and local and county records. Lesser colonies such as New York, Carolina and the New England fringe settlements they have their own stories to tell. The study firstly rests on the proposition that England's empire was shaped by the course of English politics. Secondly, it argues that although imperial history was marked by tension between colonial resistance and English authority. Finally, the broad view is taken of the politics of empire aims to establish a general framework for understanding seventeenth-century colonial history. Attention has also been paid to the political writings and the "non-colonial" activities of governments and politicians.
make law, it was, as a number of Tory pamphleteers pointed out, the king’s job to
choose the ministers who would do so, and this was understandably the source of
THE POLITICS OF REGICIDE IN ENGLAND
some of the most bitter political arguments of the eighteenth century. The
ambiguous boundaries of the royal prerogative became, indeed, the principal
motivator of radicalism before 1832, just as bourgeois and parliamentary
‘betrayal’ fuelled its fire in the years after the Reform Act. The theoretical vitality
of the GloriousRevolution should not be
that was to become known as the GloriousRevolution. While the settlement
and Declaration of Rights addressed the perceived injustices of the two reigns,
the transient unison of the Convention quickly dissipated into acrimony and
recrimination. Ideological disputes of church and state concerning the legality
of the Revolution recycled earlier country protest that continually reappeared
beyond the Hanoverian succession over the next five decades. Confrontation
with the modifications wrought by 1688 drove political party divisions and
factious disputes as parliamentary
The English empire at the end of the seventeenth century
Robert M. Bliss
Ushered in by the Popish Plot and
the Exclusion Crisis and climaxing with the GloriousRevolution, the
century’s end was a time of high political excitement in England.
The plot roused old fears of Catholicism in the whole nation. Those we
call whigs made the most of it, but their excesses forged an alliance
between Charles II and those, now called tories, who had long claimed to
30 January 1649.
On 19 May 1649, England became the ‘Commonwealth of England’. Cromwell proclaimed himself Lord Protector in 1653, after suppressing a revolt in Ireland and dismissing the residual forms of Parliament to establish the Protectorate. He died in 1658 and thereafter – in a country exhausted by two decades of turmoil – moves were made to restore the monarchy: the restoration occurred in April 1660, when Charles II acceded to the throne.
The restored monarchy discovered it was very much not business as usual. The
history have shown, most strikingly in relation to the Reform Acts of
1832 and 1867, domestic settings alone cannot explain the course of parliamentary
The defining moments of British parliamentary history in the ‘long’
eighteenth century have often be associated with a single date: for example, 1688,
1707, 1765, 1776, 1801, 1832. At each of these points, the powers, the capacities
or the scope of parliamentary authority changed. In 1688 and 1832 – the conventional boundaries of a long century of revolution and reform – the GloriousRevolution and the Great
administration, and raising and seeking a redress of grievances. Parliament and king variously clashed, with the crown being limited because of a conflict that was bloody – the English civil war, resulting in the king, Charles I, being executed in 1649 – and one that wasn’t, the ‘gloriousrevolution’ of 1688–9, when James II fled and was deemed to have abdicated.
The period of republican rule (1649–60) was notable for producing two written constitutions – the Instrument of Government of 1653, 7 followed by the Humble Petition and Advice 1657 – but with the Restoration of
The Press as an Agent of Liberty
Like an ascending curve on a graph, the eighteenth century
witnessed both an expansion in the role of public opinion in affairs
of state and an increase in the degree to which the Press was
accordingly utilized as a political instrument. Many governments
were quick to recognize this and, drawing upon early modern precedents, established rigorous censorship systems to regulate the flow
of ideas. In England, the emergence of parliamentary liberty and
religious toleration following the ‘GloriousRevolution’ of 1688