Emergence of Radical Groups

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Establishment of Republic

What was the reason for the emergence of radical sects?

  • Mostly due to fact that there was freedom of press after 1641
  • Star Chamber abolished in 1641
  • pamphlets were produce= SIGNIFICANT
  • Pamphlet= quick to write & print AND very easy to distribute
  • Pamphlets could be read out to people and therefore there was a bigger audience.


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Levellers- who they were & what they thought

  • Levellers= people who wanted LIBERTY
  • Wanted to get rid of House of Commons
  • Dow identifies 3 reasons why Levellers joined:
      •  people's grievance- whether long or short term
      • intellectual heritage of leaders- ideas of Calvinist Puritanism and the ideas of natural law & traditions of English law
      • personal experiences of Leveller leaders- eg. 'Free-born' John Lilburne             
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Army Agitators

  • Army leaders as unsympathetic to Leveller agruments as MPs
  • Leveller's best allies= Army Agitators
  • In summer of 1647 were chosen by soldiers
  • Important links were made between L. & Ag.
  • They attacked army officers and called for political & social reform
  • In 6 months, Levellers went from margins of politics to centre.
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Diggers ("True Levellers")

  • Earliest group to emerge
  • Led by GERRARD WINSTANLEY- he believed freedom and social equality can from common ownership of propert. Denounced private property.
      • Levellers wanted liberation not equality
      • DIggers wanted social & economical equality
      • More religiously driven that Levellers- Levellers acted on experience and grievances 
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Why did radical groups emerge?

  • Different ideas going around- they were changing & shifting
  • More printing presses
  • A vacuum- structural/ hierarchical vacuum
  • Opportunity- God had created a possibility for them to act
  • People were changing ideas
  • More ordinary people became involved in politics
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