• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the impact of the 1688 Revolution on British government and society.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Anna Loughran., Hertford. 20.10.03 Assess the impact of the 1688 Revolution on British government and society. It is not so much the events of 1688 that constitute a revolution as the subsequent changes in the constitution that show a transformation in the nature and ideology of government. There was no internal uprising, no civil war and most importantly, the succession of William of Orange and his wife Mary to the English throne was authorised by a Convention, acting in lieu of parliament in the absence of King James II. Indeed it could be argued that this was not a revolution at all, if James' departure is to be interpreted as his abdication. Contemporaries, keen to replace the unpopular, Catholic monarch with a man who was seen as a deliverer from popery and slavery, reasoned as such. In actual fact James never did renounce his claim to the throne. Fleeing London in the dead of night, he took with him The Great Seal, traditionally held by the monarch and dropped it in the Thames and he burnt the writs that were to call anew parliament. He would later attempt to recapture his crown, rallying support in Ireland to prepare for an invasion that was to fail. But whether or not this dynastic change, made by those who, in theory, did not have the authority to do so, is enough to deserve the title revolution, what cannot be denied is that this marks the end of the era of the absolute monarch. ...read more.

Middle

Parliament had the authority to oversee all public expenditure and so the monarch would always be dependant on them. Changes to the structure of government took effect gradually during the years following the revolution, but from the start the role of parliament was augmented, which initiated subsequent developments. They met for much longer sessions than before 1688, enabling a great deal more legislation to be passed, and allowing for Bills to be more thoroughly debated. Much of the legislation passed was still local or occasional in essence, such as permission to build a workhouse, but although this could be viewed as undermining the revolutionary nature of parliament's more prominent role, the fact that MPs were more available to take action on their electorate's specific grievances, helped to ease the frictions between local and executive power as the nation's political make-up was evolving. Although from a modern perspective these changes are viewed as progressing towards a more rational system of government, during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, people were often concerned about social stability which they believed was at risk with so much legal development. It was a commonly held view that life should be stable and predictable. People wanted to feel sure of their position, their income and their king and government. In an era where the poor always risked slipping into poverty after a bad harvest, increasing involvement in foreign warfare and frequent ...read more.

Conclusion

He faced a Jacobite uprising within the year, but his reign is largely characterised as a time of peace and relative stability after the turbulent post-revolutionary years. The Glorious Revolution had seemed on the surface to be swift, decisive and painless, yet the principals of change that as Burke claimed justified it as a revolution took years to really take shape. By the time of King George the role of monarch had been dramatically reviewed, no longer seen as a ruler from God, but as a figure head for a nation governed by a system of parliament, which relied on the mutual dependency of the two houses and the executive to abide by a sense of appropriate behaviour. Queen Anne was the last to use the Royal veto, something much exploited by the monarchs before 1688, the workings of parliament and the Privy Council had become more regular and thorough and a system of party politics had developed. The characters of William, Anne and George, who all failed to immerse themselves in domestic affaires and the extraordinary calibre of ministers at work during this time, perhaps eased the transition but it still remains that, while the revolution of 1688 had a profound and lasting impact on British society and government, the relationship worked both ways. The practical workings of British society and government were what moulded the developments after the revolution, developments that justified the glorious revolution to be called as such. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Does Alexander II deserve the title of 'Tsar liberator'?

    the ?breeding ground? for intellectuals and revolutionaries, the government tried to limit the influence or growth of it by limiting their influence and ensuring they had insufficient finance. Overall, despite the fact that the middle classes grew and that everyone could vote for the zemstva members, zemstvos? were heavily weighted

  2. Henry II (1154 - 1189) is generally seen as the main catalyst in the ...

    an ability to frequently make claims that were over and beyond those he could legitimately make, which would explain Henry's desire to extend his realm even further. Nevertheless, Stubbs43 suggests Henry II was in fact 'a far-seeing King who recognized that the well-being of the nation was the surest foundation

  1. How 'radical' was the 'Glorious Revolution'?

    this blatant hypocrisy of the King and his grotesque 'fixing' on his part, was a gross insult of his executive power. Had James had his way the role of parliament would have become "little more than a rubber stamp for Royal wishes" .

  2. Resistance to slavery.

    At the top were the very rich planters. Grouped with them socially were the leading civil and military officers they were known as the grands blancs. The merchant and the professional men were cut off socially from the grands blancs. In Martinique and Guadeloupe, the planters were frequently in debt to the merchants, but this was not the

  1. Anne Boleyn - A queen who inspired a revolution.

    Catherine was well prepared for any surprise the Henry had in store, only increasing the difficulty of the annulment. Catherine stood strong through the trial and refused to comply with any of Campeggios' propositions, she seized this opportunity however to make her case stronger.

  2. How united was Britain in 1688?

    Since we define the year 1688 by the Glorious Revolution, it seems to me to be more logical within the confines of this essay to focus upon the political events that led up to the events of November 1688 rather than on a chronological survey of the whole year.

  1. "Above all, the government feared a re-enactment of the French revolution on British soil" ...

    Henry Hunt Major John Cartwright, William Cobbett and Sir Francis Burdett. These were very charismatic men who knew what they wanted and desperately wanted reform to enable them to get it. John Cartwright was and ex-naval officer. In 1776 he published the book "Take your Choice", in this he expressed

  2. Industrial Revolution

    Previously, many areas of the North were little more than buffer towns; populations constructed to keep out any potential Scottish invasion from the north but offering little to the growth of the English economy. But the industrial revolution altered the entire relationship between North and South, re-instigating a sense of purpose in the people north of Birmingham.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work