By Steve Pincus
For 2 hundred years historians have seen England’s wonderful Revolution of 1688–1689 as an un-revolutionary revolution—bloodless, consensual, aristocratic, and specially, good. during this outstanding 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 eu occasion, that it happened over a few years, no longer 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 accordance with lots of recent archival examine, strains the transformation of English overseas coverage, non secular tradition, and political economic system that, he argues, used to be the meant end result of the revolutionaries of 1688–1689.
James II built a modernization application that emphasised centralized keep an eye on, repression of dissidents, and territorial empire. The revolutionaries, against this, took good thing about the recent fiscal probabilities to create a bureaucratic yet participatory country. The postrevolutionary English kingdom emphasised its ideological holiday with the prior and estimated itself as carrying on with to adapt. All of this, argues Pincus, makes the wonderful Revolution—not the French Revolution—the first really glossy revolution. This wide-ranging publication reenvisions the character of the fantastic Revolution and of revolutions quite often, the motives and effects of commercialization, the character of liberalism, and finally the origins and features of modernity itself.
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Additional info for 1688: The First Modern Revolution (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History)
Here I make it clear that although the Revolution of 1688–89, and its radical consequences, would have been impossible had there not been a civil war and an interregnum in midcentury, the midcentury upheaval did not make 1688–89 and its aftermath inevitable. 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.
37 The Tercentenary of the Revolution of 1688–89 fell flat because there was little left to celebrate. Two centuries of historical scholarship had reduced what had once been seen as a fundamental shift in the history of humanity to an aristocratic parlor game. English or British identity had not been reshaped; it had been reaffirmed. The British constitution had not been remade; its ancient constitution had been recovered. Above all, scholars have claimed with a united voice, the lives of most Britons were remarkably little affected.
Revolutions must involve popular movements; those popular movements need not be class based. Nor is it useful to distinguish between social and political revolutions. Events that “transform state structures but not social structures” are civil wars, rebellions, or coups d’état; they are not revolutions. Revolutions must involve both a transformation of the socioeconomic orientation and of the political structures. That transformation must take place through a popular movement, and the transformation must involve a selfconsciousness that a new era has begun.