The Exclusion Crisis, 1678-83

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  • The Exclusion Crisis, 1678-83
    • The Tories and The Whigs
      • These were two political parties
        • The Tories supported the king and the Whigs supported exclusion
      • The Whigs
        • They won majorities in the House of Commons in 1679 and 1681, suggesting most involved in politics favoured the exclusion of James
        • They were led by the Earl of Shaftesbury and had support from Non-conformists, who hoped for religious toleration apart from for Catholics
        • The Whigs believed in a threat of absolutism linked to Catholicism and that it was parliaments role to protect peoples freedoms and Protestantism
          • They believed exclusion was the only way to prevent Catholicism from returning to England
            • Propaganda showed James as a weak link
      • The Tories
        • Their support came from the Anglican Church, the country gentry and some country MPs that were concerned about their localism of the Whigs
          • There was also some support from the City of London
        • Tories believed in the divine right, that people should accept the authority of the king and they were Anglican
          • They accused the Whigs of being rebels and claimed that they would destroy the hereditary monarchy
            • They argued that if a birth right could be taken away then land property could also be threatened
        • Torie propaganda was quite successful in making the Whigs appear radical
          • Exclusion could lead to another civil war
    • Background
      • The fear of James taking over as king was further fuelled by the fear of Catholicism being imposed in England
        • James' own reputation for authoritarian views, sympathy for the system of French government and the apparent favouritism for Catholics at court worsened the problem
        • There was fear that if James had a son with his second wife, Catholicism would be restored
          • However his wife had a number of miscarriages
            • The crown would've gone to Mary, his first wife, who was Protestant
      • The end of the Cavalier Parliament in 1679 and the entry of new MPs into the House of Commons meant that many were willing to listen to the opposition and suggestions to exclude James from succession
      • There were four possible solutions
        • 1. Accept that James would be king until he died
        • 2. He could be excluded
        • 3. Try to persuade Charles to divorce and remarry (highly unlikely)
        • 4. Legitimise one of Charles' children that he had with a mistress
      • Charles offered to limit powers but this put more pressure on forcing an exclusion
        • Two elections were fought over the issue
    • Other Events linked to the Exclusion Crisis
      • Danby
        • In March 1679 Danby was dismissed by Charles and Parliament tried to impeach him in December 1678
          • Charles blocked parliaments attempts to impeach Danby
            • He did this because his trial may have exposed secret agreements with france - he was motivated by personal interest
        • Danby tried to pursue a pro-Protestant/Dutch policy but was aware of Charles' attempts to cultivate an alliance with France
        • Charles made Danby right to Ralph Montagu to negotiate an alliance with Louis XIV
        • Parliament tried an act of attainder but Danby handed himself in and was kept in the tower for 5 years
          • Charles ended parliament in 1679
      • Lauderdale
        • He was replaced by James and had been Secretary of State for 2/3 years
        • James tried to strengthen royal power in Scotland which made those in favour of exclusion even more concerned if he became king
          • Charles allowed the abandonment of toleration from 1680
      • There was a report from Shaftesbury that the French were going to support a Catholic uprising in Ireland
        • There was not a lot of truth in it but it fuelled greater fears of Catholicism
    • The Failure of Exclusion
      • There were two bills
        • May 1679: It passed its second reading in the House of Commons but Charles suspended parliament at that point
        • Autumn 1680: Passed in the Commons but the House of Lords voted against it
      • In April Charles agreed to limitations on a Catholic monarch's power
        • They would not have patronage powers (appointing offices)
        • Parliament would have power over civil and military appointment so that offices would not be filled by Catholics
      • Charles temporarily exiled the Duke of Monmouth, his oldest illegitimate son
        • In June 1679 Monmouth had defeated Scots at Bothwell Bridge but he had been working with Shaftesbury on excluding James
          • He was exiled to the Netherlands
      • The rejection of the second bill meant that the Commons offered Charles £600,000 if he accepted an exclusion bill
        • Charles dissolved parliament in January 1681
      • There were elections for a new parliament
        • A lot of MPs that supported the exclusion of James were elected (Oxford Parliament) in a royalist area
          • During this parliament Charles offered that Mary and William would be regents for James but the Commons planned a new exclusion bill
            • Shaftesbury called for Monmouth to be the next monarch
      • By 1681 Charles was in a better financial position
        • There was increased trade and revenue
        • He was promised more money from Louis XIV (about £115,000 a year for 3 years)
          • In return Charles would not call another parliament for 3 years
            • The Commons wanted a third bill but Charles dismissed parliament in 1681 and another was not called during his reign until 1685

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