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By Steve Pincus

For 2 hundred years historians have seen England’s excellent Revolution of 1688–1689 as an un-revolutionary revolution—bloodless, consensual, aristocratic, and peculiarly, good. during this extraordinary new interpretation Steve Pincus refutes this conventional view.

By increasing the interpretive lens to incorporate a broader geographical and chronological body, Pincus demonstrates that England’s revolution was once a ecu occasion, that it came about over a couple of years, now not months, and that it had repercussions in India, North the United States, the West Indies, and all through continental Europe. His wealthy ancient narrative, in keeping with plenty of recent archival examine, strains the transformation of English international coverage, non secular tradition, and political economic climate that, he argues, used to be the meant outcome of the revolutionaries of 1688–1689.

James II built a modernization application that emphasised centralized regulate, repression of dissidents, and territorial empire. The revolutionaries, in contrast, took benefit of the hot monetary chances to create a bureaucratic yet participatory kingdom. The postrevolutionary English nation emphasised its ideological holiday with the earlier and anticipated itself as carrying on with to conform. All of this, argues Pincus, makes the wonderful Revolution—not the French Revolution—the first actually smooth revolution. This wide-ranging ebook reenvisions the character of the fantastic Revolution and of revolutions as a rule, the explanations and results of commercialization, the character of liberalism, and eventually the origins and features of modernity itself.

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Extra info for 1688: The First Modern Revolution (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-C)

Sample text

The periods of instability were periods of demographic growth; the period of stability was one of population stagnation. ”10 Though innovative and interpretatively exciting, Goldstone’s analysis fails to make sense of the early modern world that is his focus. Monumental state breakdowns and revolutions occurred during his “century of stability” of 1660–1760. ” This view contrasts with that of classic commentators and the interpretation developed here. ”11 The Glorious Revolution, I will show, was a popular and violent event in which both the nature of English governance and the socioeconomic orientation of the regime were radically transformed.

French-style absolutism was a real possibility in later seventeenthcentury England. Only a radical revolution prevented England from following a very different developmental path. Before turning to my account of later seventeenth-century England, however, it is important to establish my understanding of revolution. So, chapter 2 sets out a theory of revolution that draws heavily on the extensive literature on revolutions in the social sciences and the humanities. Based on that literature I advance a new agenda for studying revolutions in a comparative framework.

The significance of the Revolution of 1688–89, argued Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was that it showed the irrelevance of popular radicalism. ”39 Given this remarkable consensus, given the hegemonic exposition of the establishment Whig interpretation of revolution principles, it is hardly surprising that 28 Introducto ry the tercentenary events were sedate and dull affairs. Popular celebrations would have been antithetical to the spirit of the revolution. ppp The Revolution of 1688–89 has receded from the popular imagination because it has ceased to be an interesting event.

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