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Monarchy and Revolution: The English State in the s. Front Cover. J. R. Western. - pages. 0 Reviews. What people are saying - Write a review.
Table of contents

The Renaissance , long-evolving and coloured by local conditions, had promoted attitudes still traceable to the common inheritance. The Hellenic spirit of inquiry, the Roman sense of order, and the purposive force of Judaism had contributed to a cultural synthesis and within it an article of faith whose potential was to be realized in the intellectual revolution of the 17th century—namely, that man was an agent in a historical process which he could aspire both to understand and to influence.

By the outcome of that process was the complex system of rights and values comprised in feudalism, chivalry , the crusading ideal, scholasticism, and humanism. Even to name them is to indicate the rich diversity of the European idea, whether inspiring adventures of sword and spirit or imposing restraints upon individuals inclined to change. The forces making for change were formidable. The Protestant and Roman Catholic Reformations brought passionate debate of an unsettling kind. Discoveries and settlement overseas extended mental as well as geographic horizons, brought new wealth, and posed questions about the rights of indigenous peoples and Christian duty toward them.

Printing gave larger scope to authors of religious or political propaganda. The rise of the state brought reactions from those who believed they lost by it or saw others benefit exceedingly from new sources of patronage. Meanwhile, the stakes were raised by price inflation, reflecting the higher demand attributable to a rise in the population of about 25 percent between and and the inflow of silver from the New World; the expansion of both reached a peak by Thereafter, for a century, the population rose only slightly above million and pulled back repeatedly to that figure, which seemed to represent a natural limit.

The annual percentage rate of increase in the amount of bullion in circulation in Europe, which had been 3.

The extent to which these facts, with attendant phenomena—notably the leveling out from about , and thereafter the lowering, of demand, prices, and rents before the resumption of growth about —influenced the course of events must remain uncertain. Controversy has centred around the cluster of social, political, and religious conflicts and revolts that coincided with the deepening of the recession toward mid-century.

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Any single explanation of the general crisis may be doomed to fail. That is not to say that there was no connection between different features of the period. These arose from an economic malaise that induced an introspective mentality, which tended to pessimism and led to repressive policies but which also was expressed more positively in a yearning and search for order. Whether strands in a single pattern or distinct phenomena that happen to exhibit certain common principles, each has lent itself to a wider perception of the 17th century as classical, baroque, absolutist, or mercantilist.

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Monarchy and Revolution: English State in the 1680's (Problems of History)

Seller Image. Before the Revolution the Whigs sought to exclude James from the English throne because of his Catholicism. After the Revolution, a battery of laws that were created specifically to harass, humiliate and oppress Catholics.


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On board also was the English philosopher John Locke, who had spent five years in exile in the Netherlands. He has come to be regarded, and not just in Britain, as the philosopher who laid the foundations of liberalism, and of liberal democracy. John Locke was born in in Wrington, Somerset, to Puritan parents of modest means. His father was a country lawyer who served in a Puritan cavalry company in the Civil War. After leaving Oxford, Locke became physician and secretary to the moral philosopher Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, one of the richest and most powerful political figures in England.


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A founder of the Whig movement, Shaftesbury was at the heart of many of the battles and intrigues of the age, and expressed the full gamut of Whig political ambiguities. In , and again five years later, Shaftesbury was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and was eventually forced to flee to the Netherlands, where he was shortly afterwards followed by Locke. It is an immensely powerful argument in defence of religious tolerance.

It is also an immensely restricted argument in defence of religious tolerance. The means to do so are his religious belief and the ability openly to worship. The power of human political authority cannot, therefore, rightfully extend over either sphere. The proper concern of a magistrate or civil government is the protection of life, liberty, health and property.

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The magistrate can use force and violence where this is necessary to preserve civil interests against attack. This is the central function of the state. The only power that the state possesses is the use of force.