1688: The First Modern Revolution (The Lewis Walpole Series by Steve Pincus

By Steve Pincus

For 2 hundred years historians have considered England’s wonderful Revolution of 1688–1689 as an un-revolutionary revolution—bloodless, consensual, aristocratic, and mainly, 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 used to be a ecu occasion, that it came about over a couple of years, no longer months, and that it had repercussions in India, North the US, the West Indies, and all through continental Europe. His wealthy old narrative, according to lots of recent archival examine, lines the transformation of English international coverage, spiritual tradition, and political financial system that, he argues, was once the meant end result of the revolutionaries of 1688–1689.

James II built a modernization application that emphasised centralized keep watch over, repression of dissidents, and territorial empire. The revolutionaries, against this, took good thing about the recent financial chances to create a bureaucratic yet participatory country. The postrevolutionary English country emphasised its ideological holiday with the earlier and expected itself as carrying on with to conform. All of this, argues Pincus, makes the fantastic Revolution—not the French Revolution—the first actually smooth revolution. This wide-ranging booklet reenvisions the character of the fantastic Revolution and of revolutions mostly, the factors and outcomes of commercialization, the character of liberalism, and eventually the origins and features of modernity itself.

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34 The events of 1688–89, in these accounts, were in no sense akin to modern revolutions. The Glorious Revolution was not a social revolution in terms of either its participants or its consequences. ”35 Since those who took part in the events of 1688–89 came from the narrow political elite and had no revolutionary program and no social agenda, they were necessarily not modern revolutionaries. 36 By the late twentieth century, the scholarly debate over the Revolution of 1688–89 was narrow indeed.

Security was given to our property, and our consciences were emancipated. 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.

Instead revolutions happen when the political nation is convinced of the need for political modernization but there are profound disagreements on the proper course of state innovation. 8 State modernization, as political aim and as political process, is a necessary prerequisite for revolution. The extent and nature of modernizing social movements may encourage state modernization. These social movements may help to shape the nature of the revolutionary process. But social movements do not spark revolution unless state modernization is already under way.

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