By Steve Pincus
For 200 years historians have seen England’s excellent Revolution of 1688–1689 as an un-revolutionary revolution—bloodless, consensual, aristocratic, and peculiarly, brilliant. during this marvelous 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 used to be a eu occasion, that it happened over a couple of years, now not months, and that it had repercussions in India, North the USA, the West Indies, and all through continental Europe. His wealthy historic narrative, in accordance with lots of recent archival study, lines the transformation of English international coverage, non secular tradition, and political economic system that, he argues, was once the meant end result of the revolutionaries of 1688–1689.
James II built a modernization software that emphasised centralized regulate, repression of dissidents, and territorial empire. The revolutionaries, in contrast, took benefit of the recent monetary chances to create a bureaucratic yet participatory kingdom. The postrevolutionary English nation emphasised its ideological holiday with the earlier and predicted itself as carrying on with to adapt. All of this, argues Pincus, makes the fantastic Revolution—not the French Revolution—the first really sleek revolution. This wide-ranging booklet reenvisions the character of the wonderful Revolution and of revolutions mostly, the motives and effects of commercialization, the character of liberalism, and finally the origins and features of modernity itself.
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Additional resources for 1688: The First Modern Revolution (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-C)
Wilkes and Richard Price claimed that this development proved that the revolution was imperfect. Blackstone pointed out that while “the nominal” power of the crown had been weakened at the revolution, the “real power” remained. 28 In the context of George III’s turn to new advisers with Tory and neo-Tory ideological leanings, the outbreak of the American Revolution, and the creation of a new, more authoritarian empire in India, some radicals came to see the Revolution of 1688–89 as a 24 Introducto ry disaster rather than as merely imperfect.
Scholars, politicians, and journalists have come to agree that the revolution merely restored the English ancient constitution. It affirmed, rather than created, British exceptionalism. It was at best a heroic moment for a few British aristocrats standing up for their honor against an innovative and tyrannical monarch. The people were hardly involved. The revolution set no new precedent for future political action—it merely reasserted parliamentary sovereignty. The revolution set no model that was followed by others.
The bounds of free enquiry were enlarged; the volume in which are the words of eternal life, was laid more open to our examination; and the era of light and liberty was introduced among us, by which we have been made an example to other kingdoms, and became the instructors of the world. ”25 Price’s optimistic, reformist, and radical commentary on the meaning of the Revolution of 1688–89 elicited a number of critical responses. But there was no more famous, more widely read, or more politically influential response to Richard Price’s Discourse on the Love of Our Country than the interpretation of the revolution offered by Edmund Burke.