Civil War and breakdown of royal authority and movement of armies of Parliament around the country created a development for religious and political radicalism.
- The Levellers were a London Pressure Group that wanted economic, social and political reform.
- Created by the civil war at a time of religious and politcal uncertainty.
- John Lilburne was a key figure
- The Levellers wanted:
- Written constitution.
- House of Commons being the main legislature, not the King or Lords.
- More elections.
- Religious freedom.
- Refor of law and elected local governments.
- This idea was ahead of it's time and like present day.
- How they publicised their ideas helped their influence.
- Used petitions, pamphlets and newspaper to convey it's messgaes.
- Their methods show how the control of the Politcal Nation during this period declined.
- Lilbrune made 250 Pamphlets from 1645-49.
1647, HOW THEY AFFECTED THE NEW MODEL ARMY:
- Knew without army support, they couldn't influence the post-war settlement.
- Levellers used the army's adjutators to express the concerns of the low army ranks.
- Whilst the army leaders were talking to Charles over the Heads of Proposals, they were scared that their officers would sell them short.
- Levellers saw Cromwell and Irenton as evil.
- October 1647, new soldiers representatives had close links with Levellers and appeared in 5 regiments.
- Pamphlet, 'case of the army truly stated' attacked army leaders for attempt to compromise with Charles.
- New Model Army begins to divide and leaders saw Levellers as a threat.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1647, THE PUTNEY DEBATES:
- General Council of the Army met with adjutators and Leveller representatives to debate how England should be governed in the future.
October 1647 The Levellers' first agreement of the people:
- Levellers manifesto showed that those who wanted to be citizens of the state had to sign a document as their agreement.
- Sovereignty = with the people, not King/Parliament by making Parliament more representative to the people.
- Other agreements...
- MPs elected according to proportion of constituencies.
- Parliament elected every 2 years.
- Parliament should only consist of the Commons.
- Succeeded in reminding Ireton to keep their demands in mind when they deal with Parliament/King.
- Army Leaders' need to work with Levellers and need to debate the settlement.
- The fact that their voices were being heard when in 1630 they would be ignored showed how big the revolution was.
- The Putney debate ended in November 1647 with a clash Ireton and Leveller sympathiser Rainsborough over the army leaders' attempts to settle with the King.
- Everything at Putney was undermined when Charles escaped, uniting higher and lower rank officers after the Putney and Whitehall debates against the King and Scots.
- Cromwell and Ireton reinforced their control over the army.
- Payed the troops through Parliament.
- This meant the Levellers couldn't have further discussions with the discontent ranks.
- Some say army made Levellers keep quiet after the Whitehall debates until the army killed the King.
DECEMBER 1648/JANUARY 1649, THE WHITEHALL DEBATES:
- Behind the trial and execution of Charles, Levellers met the Gerneral council of the Army.
- Met to debate the 'agreement of the people' as Whitehall.
- Levellers wanted this to = framework to a new constitution.
- Failure to agree led to a division between the Leveller leadership and army grandees.
- After failing to agree, Levellers and officers made own versions of the 'agreement of people'.
- Levellers second agreement was different from the officers' agreement.
- After the King, the Army Grandees had to deal with the Leveller leadership.
THE REPRESSION OF THE LEVELLERS:
- March 1649, Leading Levellers like Lillburn were arrested.
- Propaganda war still continued against the Rump Parliament and army.
- Levellers attacked Cromwell as a hypocrite after the 'Hunting of the foxes'.
- Levellers third agreement in 1649 wanted to caused an army mutiny.
- Fairfax and Cromwell quickly crushed this in May 1649.
- Rump parliament and army also put this to an end as rump Parliament still needed to pay army.
- Lillburn was aquitted at his trial in September 1649.
- After this the Leveller influence in the army was over.
- Came about due to the political, scoial and economic effects of civil war.
- Created by Gerrard Winstanley.
- Mainly had an influence post-King's execution.
- Communism was a solution to social inequality.
- Came across more threatening than it was.
- This = due to their challenge to nature of politics and society.
- Unlike levellers they wanted total social and political equality.
- Called themselves true levellers in their pamphlet ' True Levelles standard advanced'.
- Pamphlet 'Law of freeedom in a platform' he said every man should have freedom on earth to make anything he wants and not pay rent to landlords.
- Less immediate influence that the Levellers.
- Were a Minority and commune only lasted 1 year.
- They weere destroyed by troops led by Fairfax due to the demands of the local elite.
- Unlike Levellers, Diggers' was only controlled by Winstanley.
- Despite failure, they had the ideas for future radicals such as...
- Direct action - Winstanley said action is the only way to get something done.
- Communism - Their making of communes show communism 200 years before Karl Marx.
- Liberation theology - Their ideas go back to a radical Christian movement that aims to remove poverty.
REPRESSION OF THE DIGGERS:
- March 1649, a Digger group led by William Everard took over waste ground at St George's Hill.
- Took direct action of for their main idea of common ownership of land.
- Said this was God's vision, more religious than the Levellers.
- Failed because hostile landowners.
- After a year, the group at St George's Hill collapsed
- But, their were still short lived Digger communities in Kent, Nottinghamshire and Middlesex.
- A Purtian movement influenced by the Levellers and Diggers.
- Saw the civil war as the end of times.
- Saw judgement day as near due to the crises of King and Parliament.
- Decided to have a more political role.
- 1650, Welsh and London Millenarians linked to campaign for relgious, economic and social reform.
- Called 5th Monarchist because of vision in the book of Daniel of a KIngdon lasting forever and would follow with 4 great earthly monarchs.
- This group = loosely organised and there wasn't a millenarian cented political group.
- They never had enough to threaten the state.
- Pre-1650, Millenarianism had an influence within the troops in the army.
- Key Millenarian in the army and the development of the 5th Monarchists was Colonel Thomas Harrison.
- Central role in the 5th Monarchists group was from his position in the army and links with Millenarian preachers in South Wales and London.
- Harrsions' developing millenarianism saw him leading a consistent and coherent group of relgious and political Millenarianism.
- They expected the coming of Christ on Earth and were theocratic.
- Wanted God to be rule, saints having a divine right etc.
- Levellers, Diggers and 5th Monarchists all failed to achieve their political, relgious and social reforms.
- Diggers and Levellers were crushed by the New Model Army.
- But in 1653, 5th monarchists came closest to poltical power through Thomas Harrsion.
- But, the English Revolution led to these political movement influencing radicals in the future.