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

By Steve Pincus

For 2 hundred years historians have seen England’s excellent Revolution of 1688–1689 as an un-revolutionary revolution—bloodless, consensual, aristocratic, and peculiarly, good. during this incredible 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 came about over a couple of years, now not months, and that it had repercussions in India, North the US, the West Indies, and all through continental Europe. His wealthy old narrative, in keeping with plenty of latest archival learn, strains the transformation of English overseas coverage, spiritual tradition, and political economic system that, he argues, was once the meant end result of the revolutionaries of 1688–1689.

James II constructed a modernization software that emphasised centralized keep watch over, repression of dissidents, and territorial empire. The revolutionaries, in contrast, took benefit of the recent fiscal chances to create a bureaucratic yet participatory nation. The postrevolutionary English nation emphasised its ideological holiday with the prior and predicted itself as carrying on with to conform. All of this, argues Pincus, makes the wonderful Revolution—not the French Revolution—the first actually smooth revolution. This wide-ranging ebook reenvisions the character of the wonderful Revolution and of revolutions mostly, the reasons and results of commercialization, the character of liberalism, and finally the origins and features of modernity itself.

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Extra info for 1688: The First Modern Revolution (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History)

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For these three—all of whom wrote hoping Britain would not replicate the violent and extremist revolutions that were consuming the Continent in their own ages—the great virtue of the events of 1688–89 was precisely that they prevented a real revolution from happening in Britain. Their interpretations became hegemonic not because they had uncovered new, irrefutable historical evidence but because in the face of contemporary political events their interpretative opponents had abandoned the field.

So, chapter 2 sets out a theory of revolution that draws heavily on the extensive literature on revolutions in the social sciences and the humanities. Based on that literature I advance a new agenda for studying revolutions in a comparative framework. Although I hope the theory and agenda will stimulate further research in areas far beyond English history, this chapter makes clear why I think the Revolution of 1688–89 must be considered the first modern revolution. C H A P T E R two Rethinking Revolutions T here is no part of history better received than the account of great changes and revolutions of states and governments,” wrote the Anglican cleric and future revolutionary Gilbert Burnet in the middle of the seventeenth century.

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. 4 Scholars draw a bold line between social and political revolutions because they admire some revolutionary outcomes and disdain others.

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