Historical interpretations of the Glorious Revolution

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  • Historical interpretations of the Glorious Revolution
    • Revisionist: partial and less significant change - unrevolutionary
      • John Morrill (b. 1946)
        • 'The sensible revolution of 1688-89 was a conservative revolution. It did not create damaging new rifts in the English nation, although it did sharpen and extend divisions in Scotland and Ireland'
      • Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
        • 'This new and hitherto unheard of bill of rights, though made in the name of the whole people, belongs to those gentlemen and their faction only. The body of the people of England have no share in it. They utterly disclaim it'.
      • Henry Horwitz (b. 1938)
        • 'It was the conflict over issues and the competition for places among those loyal to William that principally shaped domestic politics 1689-1701'.
    • Whig interpretation: significant and revolutionary change
      • David Hume (1711-1776)
        • Hume wrote: 'the powers of royal prerogative were more narrowly circumscribed and more exactly defined'.
      • Thomas Macaulay (1800-59)
        • 'The Glorious Revolution re-asserted the limited monarchy and that the king could not act without the consent of the representatives of the nation'.
      • Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)
        • 'A greater deliverance, more unexpected, and that hath plainer characters of a Divine Contrivance and conduct hath neither been heard of, nor seen, in any place of the world, in any of the former ages of it'.
      • George Trevelyan (1876-1962)
        • His conclusion neatly summarises the Whig viewpoint: that it saved the country from absolutism by giving power to Parliament at the expense of the king.
    • Revisionist: more significant revolutionary change
      • North and Weingast
        • 'Following the Glorious Revolution, the government gained access to an unprecedented level of funds and became financially solvent'.
      • Steven Pincus
        • 'England's revolution of 1688-89, it is now clear, was the first modern revolution. The revolution of 1688-89 was, like all other revolutions, violent, popular and divisive'.
      • Andrew Lavoie
        • 'The Glorious Revolution had a profound impact on the Three Kingdoms of the British Isles, the political framework of these lands, and the Isles international standing'.
      • Edward Vallance
        • 'William's assent to the Triennial Act of 1694 ensured regular Parliaments and ushered in a period of feverish electioneering and deeply partisan politics'.


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