The Glorious Revolution in England of 1688

Topics: James II of England, Glorious Revolution, William III of England Pages: 5 (1567 words) Published: January 29, 2006
The Glorious Revolution in England of 1688
James II succession to the throne of England came without protest of any kind. James II was the son of Charles I and younger brother to Charles II. In January of 1649, Charles I, King of England, went on trial and was convicted as a "'Tyrant, Traitor, Murderer, and public enemy to the good people of this nation.'" (Cannon, pg. 385) On 7 February 1649, Charles II was proclaimed King of Great Britain. While Charles II was in office, he began to develop a form of government that existed without the parliament. In 1685, when Charles' II brother, James II, took over, James continued with the trend in government that his brother set into action. From the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the Glorious Revolution in 1688, there were only six parliaments elected and they met for a total of twenty-two sessions. This was far too little time to resolve political issues or to consider new legislation. Upon James II accession to the throne, he was widely resented by the people of Great Britain because he was a Roman Catholic King to an overwhelmingly Protestant nation.

Despite the resentment James II received from his people, he felt that it was his duty as king to spread Catholicism. In his first attempts to shut out any opposition to his expansion of Catholicism, James II attacked the law, the church, the army, the universities, and the commission of the peace. As a preliminary to establishing his right to appoint Catholic army officers, James II dismissed six judges in early 1686. Later on in 1686, James II set up the Ecclesiastical Commission, which was appointed to keep the church from discussing anything against the Catholic religion. James II had authority figures in the major universities and institutions replaced with a Catholic. This also happened in the army and government. Non-Catholic justices were dismissed and Catholic ones replaced them. Within one year of his accession, the vast majority of the positions of power were entrusted to only Catholics.

By the summer of 1688, the majority of the country was divided between James's II loyal Catholic followers and the abundance of Protestants in England. During the summer of 1688, two events led to the rapid decline of James II power. The first event happened in April 1688 when James II issued a second Declaration of Indulgence, which declared that it was his wish to see his people members of the church to which he belonged. The only thing that changed from the original that he put out in 1685 was that he insisted that the Declaration be read in all churches. Seven bishops in England petitioned James to reconsider the provision, but they were charged with seditious libel and went on trial. They were later acquitted of the charges and this caused more people to dislike James II. The second event that contributed to James's downfall was the birth to his first son to Mary of Modena, James's II second wife. The Protestants could now look forward to a new line of monarchs.

The day after the acquittal of the seven bishops, a cross-section of the aristocracy sent an appeal to William of Orange asking him to intervene to protect English liberties. The aristocrats of England assured William that "nineteen out of twenty Englishmen" would welcome him (Cannon, pg. 425). William of Orange devoted the following months to preparing a fleet and about fourteen-thousand men. Meanwhile, back in England, James II had growing problems among all of his people. Although he had only attacked the Church of England, he had alienated almost all of the natural leaders of the kingdom. Within the navy that James devoted most of his money and time to, there was widespread animosity toward the king due to the introduction of Catholic officers and the popish practices. After the revolution, in a conversation while he was in exile: "James remarked how much he had spent on the army and navy, whereat his wife retorted, testily, that...

Cited: Morgan, Kenneth O., and Paul Langford. The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.
Cannon, John, and Ralph Griffiths, Ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Strong, Roy. The Story of Britain. New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1997.
Speck, William Arthur. A Concise History of Britain, 1707-1975. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Israel, Jonathon I. The Anglo-Dutch Moment: Essays on the Glorious Revolution and its world impact. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Theckeray, Frank W., John E. Findling, and Steven E. Siry, ed. Events That Changed Great Britain, from 1066-1714. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2004.
Ashley, Maurice. The Glorious Revolution of 1688. New York: Scribner, 1966.
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Hoppit, Jullian. A Land of Liberty? : England 1689-1727. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
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