Edexcel A level history option 1C, Britain 1625-1701: conflict, revolution and settlement. The glorious revolution

  • Created by: AmyS11
  • Created on: 15-06-18 11:47

Unit 5- How Revolutionary Was the Glorious Revolution?

How Significant Were Revolutionary Ideals in the Establishment of a Constitutional Monarchy?

·         Historical interpretations of the overthrow of James II tend to explain the events with reference to a number of key themes. Most traditional interpretations accept that the Glorious Revolution was the result of an invasion of England and not instigated by the native population of England. Whig historians claim the view that the revolution was a bloodless one, but more recent interpretations state that the revolution can be typified by violence, particularly in Ireland and Scotland. Marxist historians have presented 1688 as a continuation of the bourgeoisie revolution of 1649 where the propertied classes overthrew their monarchy that restricted their economic livelihoods.

·         The Whig argument at the time for the deposal of James II was that he had broken a solemn contract with the people- some moderates from the Commons argued that the government existed as an agreement between the king and his people. Locke and the Whigs believed that if a ruler attempted to behave as an absolute monarch, citizens had a right to remove them.

·         After William arrived in London and James fled to France in December 1688, the terms for a political settlement were not particularly clear. William arranged for a meeting of peers and MPs in order to plan for the future of the monarchy, and a convention parliament was hastily elected.

·         Radical Whig MPs wanted to make William king immediately, but many others favoured Mary by hereditary right. Thus, the crown was offered to them both, and a declaration of rights was presented to them along with the offer of the crown. At the end of 1689 the declaration was modified and presented again as the Bill of Rights.

·         The significance of the Bill of Rights, 1689. The Bill of Rights is cited as a significant constitutional document. Most of its clauses referred to specific abuses of the royal prerogative under Charles II and James II, and a clause that called for the election of free and regular parliaments reflected resentment from MPs towards attempts by the crown to intimidate them and tamper with elections.

·         The Bill also made clear the legal position of the army- it stated that a force could not be raised or kept in times of peace without the consent of parliament.

·         Parliament asserted its control of the military through the Bill of Rights, but a number of the clauses simply reasserted what was already known to be a part of the constitution.

·         Marxist historian Christopher Hill has argued that the Bill of Rights was vague and still allowed for some absolutism to creep in.

·         The significance of the act of settlement, 1701. Restrictions on the rights of the monarch were not limited to 1688 and 89. The Act of Settlement appeared in 1701 and stated that in order to bypass potential


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