War and Social Upheaval: Glorious Revolution (1688)


Figure 1.--.

The Glorious Revolution is the term applied for William of Orange seizure of the English throne from Stuart monarch James II (1688). William landed a Dutch Army in England, but the Glorious Revolution was more political than military in character. The Glorious Revolution was not just a dynastic change on the English throne, but a far reaching shift in power relationships within the English constitution. It proved to an event of enormous significance, far more important than mamy major European wars which often only involved which monarchy gained control of a few provinces. The Glorious Revolution is often left off lists of revolutions, in part because it was so brief and so little bllod spilled. It was, however, the most important of all the great revolutions. The Dutch-English relationship was complicated by English religious/dynastic struggles. Protestant monarchs were favorably disposed toward the Dutch. Queen Mary, however, attempted to return England to Catholicism. And the Stuarts while heads of the Church of England were more desposed to France and Catholocism. Charles II converted on his deathbed and James II was openly Catholic. This eventually led to invasion by a Dutch Protestant army led by William of Orange which the English celebate as the Glorious Revolution (1688). Parliament forced King William to accept a constitutional monarcy--in esence the first modern monarchy. In return it financed what he wanted, a war with Louis XIV's France to oreserve Dutch independence--King William's War. This began a series of wars with France that did not end until Waterloo (1815).

Importance

The Glorious Revolution is the term applied for William of Orange seizure of the English throne from Stuart monarch James II (1688). William landed a Dutch Army in England, but the Glorious Revolution was more political than military in character. The Glorious Revolution was not just a dynastic change on the English throne, but a far reaching shift in power relationships within the English constitution. It proved to an event of enormous significance, far more important than mamy major European wars which often only involved which monarchy gained control of a few provinces. The Glorious Revolution is often left off lists of revolutions, in part because it was so brief and so little bllod spilled. It was, however, the most important of all the great revolutions.

The Dutch War for Independence (1581-1648)

Spain and the northern provinces of the Netherlands negotiated a 12-year truce (1609-21). Spain was preparinfg a new offensive against the Dutch when the truce ended. The problem for Spain was how to support military operations in the low countries. The rise of a Dutch navy made it difficult to send troops and provisions by sea. Reach the Dutch by land was also difficult. France stood between Spain and the Netherlands. And the French were not about to permit Spanish troops to pass through their country. It suited French purposes at the time to have an independent Netherlands even though they were Protestant. Thus the Spanish would have to send their forces along a circuitous route from Spain to Italy by sea and then through the Alpine passes to the the Rhine River Valley. The Rhine than led to the Dutch. This was a very difficult march for any body of troops and needed equipment and supplies, especially given the nature of roads at the time. The key to the route was the Rhineland. This was a contested area. The Spanish hoped to acquire Alsace which Ferdinand had promissed for supporting his imperial candidacy.

Treaty of Dover (1670)

England supported Dutch independence against both the Spanish and French. At the same time England was in competition with the Dutch in themaritime trade. This resulted in a series of naval wars. One began a few years sfter the Restoration that did not go well for the English (1665). The Dutch defeated an English fleet (1667). Charles afraid that a weakened Englanbd might not be able to fend off a French attack. The Reformation had added religious issues to the historic disputes between England and France. At the time, King Louis XIV of France was the most powerful soverign in Europe and had embarkened on a campaign to expand France's borders to the Rhine which included conquering the Dutch. Charles secretly dispatched his sister Henrietta to meet with King Louis XIV. Henrietta was chosen because she was not only Charles' sister, but Louis' sister-in-law. Henrietta as instructed by Charles suggested to Louis thst England and France could become become allies. Louis XIV expressed an interest, but as a condition of any aid, he insisted that Charles become a Catholic. Charles agreed but insisted that he needed time. He was well aware that England had become a largely Protestant country and that he might be ioverthrown like his father is he announced thatvhe was a Catholic. The resultwas the secret Treaty of Dover which Charles and Louis signed (1670). Louis XIV agreed to give Charles a yearly pension and a further sum of money to be paid once Charles announced that he had converted to Catholovism. Louis XIV also promised to send Charles 6,000 French soldiers if the English people did rebeld against him. Charles agreed to help the French against the Dutch. He also agreed to try to prevent the Protestant-dominated Parliament from persecuting English Catholics. Charles tried to persuade Parliament to become more friendly towards the French government and English Catholics, but kept the Treaty secret. It was of course nothing short of high treason, but in Charle's view, he as king was the embodiment of the state. Rumors of the Treaty began to leak out, but the Protestant party could not prove that it existed. Charles used some of the money provided by Louis to bribe members of Parliament which was nothing new. The MPs who supported Charles' pro-French and pro-Catholic policies became known as Tories by the staunchly Protestant MPs in Parliament.

William of Orange (1650-1702)

William like his wife Mary was a Stuart. His father was William II de Nassau, Prince of Orange. His mother was English Princess Royal Mary Henrietta Stuart, a daughter of Charles I. William and Mary replaced James II in the Glorious Revolution. Their reign meant the end of royal prerogative and efforts to establish royal absolutism. William's primary accomplishment as Statholder and King was to twat efforts by France to dominate Europe. He also profoundly impacted English government. After William and Mary it would be Parliament that would increasingly dominate English Government. Control of Parlialent would be contested by the merchant backed Whigs .

James II (1633-1701)

Mary's father, James II, became king in 1685. He was the second surviving son of Charles I. His father had been executed by Cromwell, but he and his elder brother Charles fled to France for saftey. James inherited the throne from his elder brother, Charles II, in 1685. He was known as James II in England, but James VII of Scotland. His brother had quarlled with Parliament and covertly accepted money from France, but was cautious on the religious issue. James ignored his brother's advise and not only quarled with Parliament, but persued militant Catholic policies. James negotiated an alliance with Catholic France, the historic enemy of England. He then declared that he was a Catholic, abandoned Anglicanism, and ordered the arrest Church of England Archbishop Sancroft and six bishops who supported the Archbishop in refusing to proclaim adherence to Catholicism. James attempted to appoint Catholic officers in the army. He also appointed Cathlholic officials in his Government and to pack parliament with Catholic supporters. He reserected the Dispensing Power. This was the recognized royal prerogative to suspend laws passed by Parliament. James was trying to evade the Act of Uniformity and the Test Act. James issued the Declaration of Indulgence (1687-88) suspending penal legislation against religious nonconformity. This allowed Dissenters to worship openly and Catholics to worship privately.

Coffee Houses

Of all things, a newly popular beverage, coffee, played a role in the gathering political storm. The first coffee house were opened in England (1652). The beverage was hugely successful, but it was more than a commercial success. Coffee had a huge political impact. Coffee houses in England came to be called "penny universities" because a penny bought admission and a cup of coffee) Edward Lloyd opened a coffeehouse (1688). They soon pliferated and developed destintive reputations. Some attracted drinkers who wanted to talk about politics. Others attracted busnessmen. Lloyd's coffee house It eventually becomes Lloyd's of London, the world's first major insurance consortium. The political discussions at these coffee houses played as major role in the Glorious Revolution--the cornerstone of British democracy.

James Francis Edward Stuart (1688- )

Englnd having endured the Civil war and Cromwell's Protectorate was not eager for another contitutional crisis, but James produced exactly this--James Francis Edward Stuart (June 1688). This came as a surprise to the English people. James and his wife were middle age and were not expected to have any more children. Had he been more adrout politically, James might have survived this. James had, however, recklessly in only 3 years alienated virtually every important political and military group in the kingdom. James was on his assumption childless. Many Englishmen were prepared to endure his monarchy with the expectation that his Protetant daughter Mary would succeed him. This changed with the announcement that his wife was pregnant which meant that there would be a Catholic heir. This combined with James' reckless pro-Catholic policies would precipitated the Glorious Revolution. It was one thing for Louis to attack the Protestants in largely Catholic France, it was another matter for James to doi this in now thorougly Protestant England.

Religious Shift

The problem for James was that England had vecome a Protestant country. The Anglican Church of England retained forms of Catholocism, but it was still Protestant. Queen Mary might have brought Englanhd basck to the Catholic faith had she produced an heir, but unfer Elizabeth, England had become thoroughly POrotestant. And James son and heir posed a threat to the Protestant establishment. They no longer could look forward to a Protestan heir from James' first Protestant marriage. Now James and his Catholic son would be the foundatio of an overtly Catholic dynasty. And Jameses had made it clear from his reckless behavior that he pursue the return of England to the Catholic faith. This was a direct threat not only to the English Protestant aristocracy, but to the solidly Protestant yeoman class. And disasterously for James, it was not only an affront, but a threat to his major source of support--the Anglican religious establishment. All saw their fate under a Catholic monarch as that of the French Hugenoughts. Only 3 years earlier King Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes in France (1685). That sent a chill through English Protestants.

Imortal VII

Conveniently for the Protestants, Protestasnt Stuarts were available to replce James. Important Protestant statesmen, the "Immortal Seven", conspired to replace James. They invited William of Orange and his wife Mary to come to England and replace James. One of those Protestants was the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill) who had previously supported James even his sucession had been questioned.

English-Dutch Relationship

The Dutch-English relationship was complicated by English religious/dynastic struggles. Protestant monarchs were favorably disposed toward the Dutch. Queen Mary, however, attempted to return England to Catholicism. And the Stuarts while heads of the Church of England were more desposed to France and Catholocism. Charles II converted on his deathbed and James II was openly Catholic.

Dutch Protestant Army

William at the invitation of the Protestant conspirators landed a Dutch army at Torbay (November 1688 ). Protestant forces joined his banner. William pledged to defend traditional English liberties and Protestantism, the very values James threatened. James could have opposed him, but in the end did not trust his army which consited of many Protestants. William and his English allies marched unopposed on London. The lack of bloodshed in comparison to the war of the Roses and the Civil War earned the action the term "Glorious".

Refuge in France

James having alienated potential supporters, most prominantly the Anglican establishnent, was forced to flee the city. He tried to reach France. He was captured by fishermen and turned over to William. As James was his father-in-law, William allowed him to go into exile in France where he was given refuge by Louis XIV. Mary seems to have had no remorse concerning her role in the dethronement of her father.

Parliament and King William

When William arrived in London, Parliament met, denounced James, and offered the crown to William and Mary as joint sovereigns. Parliament also enacted important constitutional limitations on the English monarchy. This ended forever the Stuart insistence on a French-style absolute monarchy. Parliament forced King William to accept a constitutional monarcy--in esence the first modern monarchy. In return it financed what he wanted, a war with Louis XIV's France to preserve Dutch independence.

Second Hundred Years War (1689-1815)

Until ther Glorious Revolution, the primary international conflict England faced was with Spain. Thes stemed from the Reformation and Spanish efforts to restore England anf the Netherlands to Protestatism. The conlict between the two countries was further exacerbted by Englkish envy over the wealth of the Spanish colonies and resulting privateering. Over time as Spain after the Great Armada declined in power, the rising power of France shifted power relationships. King Louis CIV attempt to dominate Europe, especisally the Nethelands renewed conflict between France and England. King William's War would essentially ignite a second Hundred Years War with France, granted it was more than 100 years but the idea of a kong protracted struggled draws a strong historical parallel. The struggle between England and France began in North America--King William's War (1689) and Ireland with the Williamite War (1689-91). Rhis stopped Jamnes effort to regain the throne. James had sigbed a secret trety with Luios while still king to oppose Parliament. Now he was Louis' open ally. Louis supported James, but the Jcobite forces were crushed on the Boyne. This began a series of wars with France that did not end until Waterloo (1815). The Whigs and Torries would disagree as to how aggressively to pursue war with France. The priary issue was the cost of the wars, but the overing conflict of interests would insure that the wars would continue until Waterloo.

English Politics

The modern English political system began to take shape after the Glorious Revolution. Parliament was split between Whigs and Torries. The Whigs represented the merchant class and after the onset of the Industial Revolution would promote economic expansion. . The Torries represented the land holding aristocracy. While these two nascent political parties duffered on commerce and economic issues and on Puritan-Anglican tensions, they solidly believed in the supremacy of Parliament over the monarchy and the need to irradicate Catholic influence, especially in government.

Bill of Rights (1689)

Parliament took major steps to firmly establish its supremecy in English Government. William primarily oncerned with his Dutch holdings and the statis of co-ruler, was willing to accept the limitatoins that Parliament was setting on the monarchy. Parliament declared the Dispensing Power reserected by King James illegal. This was the recognized royal prerogative to suspend laws passed by Parliament. Parliament fundamentally changed the character of theEnglish Government. Parliament enacted the Bill of Rights (1689). It was a law that significantly limited royal authority that had been the foundation of Tudor-Stuart authority. The could not maintain a standing army without parliament's expressed permission. The monarchy was given an income of £600,000--a paltry sum compared to the funds available to Louis XIV accroos the Channel. Additional grants were made by Parliament for specific purposes, but the monrchy had to request these appropriations. Another new law, the Mutiny Act ensured that Parliament would not lose control of the Army as its budget had to be approved annully. Parliament also chartered the The Bank of England to finance the Government.







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Created: 11:11 AM 4/5/2010
Last updated: 11:29 AM 9/26/2012