Social and Political Thought Since the Renaissance


What is a Revolution?

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The word “Revolution” is one that has evolved over the centuries peculiarly with respects to political idea and nomenclature. Summers and Pebworth ( 1999 ) justly noted that the 17th century outgrowth of new political footings attest to the slippy nature of names and labels ( p11 ) . “Hill argues that “when the demand to call the phenomenon of decisive, one-directional political alteration occurred, the word dropped its earlier sense of depicting round gesture or disk shape every bit good as its primary mention to astronomy and astrology, and so assumed its modern meaning” ( Roebuck, 1999, p12 ) .” In modern-day times, revolution is used to depict an aggressive or forceful and frequently violent overthrow of a authorities construction normally by the governed. Simply put, a revolution is a rhythm of alteration that happens when the governed Rebel against their leaders.

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Revolution besides refers to a extremist alteration in societal values which normally entails a sudden and complete turnaround from one manner of making things to another straight opposite manner. The English, French, and American Revolutions proved this to be right because the lower categories rebelled against their opinion sovereign in hunt of new freedoms, thoughts and ways of making things. It can be argued that the success of these rebellions brought positive alterations to those societies.

Factors that led to the Revolutions and Civil Wars in England between 1642 -1651

The Revolutions and Civil Wars which began in England from 1642 to 1651 were due to impairment in the relationship between the Royalists ( followings of the monarchy ) on the one manus, and the Parliamentarians and their protagonists on the other. It is notable that the English Revolution has besides been called the Puritan Revolution which somehow explains a great trade about the beginnings of struggle. However, the factors that led to the revolutions covered a few old ages before the Civil War finally broke out in 1642.

Russell ( 1990 ) cautioned on the trouble of explicating the factors that led to the Civil War as a strictly English phenomenon when he elucidated two hypotheses. First was that the chief riotous force in both England and Ireland was the job of multiple lands while the second was that the Scottish crisis which began in 1637 had far making effects on the English rebellions ( pp26-30 ) . Other factors that led to the war bordered on the fact that King James I every bit good as King Charles who succeeded his male parent, and the Parliamentarians could non hold on largely ideological issues. A late updated survey ( Stoyle, 2011 ) indicated that the issues were related to the personality and nature of the kingship, inquiry of power/constitution and faith. Problems of finance every bit good as other societal and economic issues contributed to the English Revolutions.

The personality of the sovereign from the reign of James I to Charles I was one major factor that led to the English Civil War. The position of the monarchy started to worsen under James I who perceived himself as a superior being with Godhead rights and authorization merely answerable to God. Hence, he expected the Parliament to make his wants with respects to running the state without inquiries, and this offended the Parliamentarians who had a contrary position. King James I wanted sole rights to imposts responsibilities aggregation as this was his major beginning of income but the Parliament refused to allow his petition. Exerting his right, he suspended the Parliament in 1611 for 10 old ages and used his friends to run the state whilst honoring them with rubrics. This remarkable act greatly damaged the relationship between the Crown and the Parliament.

When James I reconvened the Parliament in 1621 it was to discourse the matrimony of his boy Charles being Protestant to a Catholic Spanish princess. Besides other affairs of faith that caused jobs between the parties, “The issue of royal matrimonies is one on which spiritual tenseness had been apt to do troubles of all time since the English Reformation ; a series of events in 16th century England by which the Church of England broke off from the authorization of the Pope and the Catholic Church” ( Russell, 1990, p61 ) . Harmonizing to the Parliamentarians, matrimony should be between societal peers ; an thought that applied strongly to royal matrimonies than to private 1s as they were peculiarly concerned about the spiritual denomination of the off-spring of such brotherhood. However, the matrimony ne’er took topographic point but the effort had further strained relationships. “It has been argued that one of the major troubles of seventeenth-century England was that it was a society with several faiths, while still staying a society with a codification of values and a political system which were merely designed to be feasible with one” ( Russell, 1990, P, 63 ) .”

The King besides clashed with Parliament on inquiries of finance which was linked with the battle for power. What rights belonged to whom? These rights were earnestly linked with inquiries of who was to command the money and finance merely as they were besides linked to faith. James ‘ boy, Charles I, proved even more unacceptable as a King to the Puritans, and they looked for ways to restrict his powers. The battle between King Charles and the Parliamentarians over rights of revenue enhancement continued in the late 1620s and early 1630s as was the form in the more than two decennaries before the eruption of war. In an attempt to do themselves indispensable, Parliament would allow the King a certain grade of rights to roll up responsibilities and revenue enhancements for some periods alternatively of his full reign. Subsequently, King Charles dissolved the Parliament once more in 1626 but he still failed to raise the money he needed and was forced to name a new Parliament in 1628. The same back-and-forth power battle between the Crown and Parliament unfolded in 1639-1640 which was worsened by inability to compromise. Ultimately, both sides jealously guarded their powers and privileges as common trust was barely possible under such fortunes, and intuitions grew.

Other constitutional and socio-economic factors significantly contributed to the rebellion. Most significantly, the Parliament during this period was non to the full representative of the English people. It was mostly comprised of the Lords, governing category and other particular groups of people including the middle class, merchandisers and craftsmans whose aims and motivations were at discrepancy. During the sixteenth century, the influence, richness and power of the opinion category and bourgeoise grew at the disbursal of the Lords. A in-between category of shopkeepers emerged, which grew to be a major component of the resistance to the Crown in the seventeenth century. Their demands were double: foremost, to get rid of fiscal and commercial limitations ; and 2nd, they wanted a say in affairs such as faith and foreign policy. During the Scots problems in the late 1630s, the Parliamentarians were fast at work ordaining a series of steps designed to brush away the invasions of what they perceived as a despotic monarchy. During this period, known as the ?Long Parliament ‘ session, the King virtually surrendered to the resistance due to the force per unit areas of the Scots rebellions. Still, the Parliamentarians did non swear the King or his promises. An eruption of force broke out about at the same time in Ireland against English regulation. The war was finally precipitated by Parliamentary demands for church reform, control over the ground forces and over assignment of royal curates. The Parliamentarians were nevertheless split on these issues. Charles attempted to asseverate himself, and arrested five leaders of the resistance in the Commons. All these coupled with other underlying issues finally made civil war inevitable.


Russell, C. ,The Causes of the English Civil War( Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1990 ) .

Roebuck, G. , “ Cavalier, ” inThe English Civil Wars in the Literary Imagination,erectile dysfunction. Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth ( University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1999 ) .

Hill, “The Word ‘Revolution ‘ in Seventeenth-Century England, ”Synchronism,harmonizing to theOED,arrived in print in 1588 in the context of biblical exegesis.

Political Works of James I, ed C.H Macllwain, ( Cambridge, Mass. , 1918 ) .

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