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

Examine the significance of radical though and attitudes in the Civil War Period. C1640-1660

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine the significance of radical though and attitudes in the Civil War Period. C1640-1660 The Civil War caused turmoil and upheaval that affected every strand of life in England. It challenged and upturned the deeply ingrained feudal system with a Monarch as the head of all moral, spiritual and governmental life, and moved thought and order towards new democratic ideas and systems of rule. This period saw a new experimentation in ideas and attitudes among the population, which was not welcomed by many. As Christopher Hill writes "What was new in the 17 centaury was the idea that the world might be permanently turned upside down". In the wake of Charles's regicide there was a "popular mid-seventeenth-centaury belief that the establishment of a prefect society was imminent" (coward). Many radical movements, from the Levellers to the 5th monarchists flourished, posing a threat to traditional conformist ideas on political, social and religious aspects, which defined many of the boundaries on which the traditional feudal system was based on. This created much controversy among a nation seeking stability, and so this period can be thought of radical in the sense of change. It is important to be aware just how deeply ingrained the church and the Monarchy was in every day life, both during and after the Civil War. ...read more.

Middle

Some suggest they were fabricated to warn the population off the dangers of many of these ideas. If this were true, it indicates that radicalism posed a real enough threat to the current authorities. However, there is evidence of their existence in the 1650 Blasphemy Act. Either way, the authorities saw in them a real potential threat not merely to the feudal system, but also to Cromwell, the gentry and the landowners. One of the most interesting and radical groups to emerge out of this period were the Levellers. Led by John Lilburn they were one of the first urban socialist and working class movements. They believed that everybody was born "equal in majesty"; and thus in a "levelled" society. There is no doubt that their ideas more than actions frightened those in power, especially Cromwell. This is evident in his harsh suppression of revolts within the Army at Ware and Burford. They rejected all inequality, thus also governmental control and held the view in "The basic principal that sovereignty lay not with parliament but with the people". The amount of time John Lilburn spent incarcerated is evidence of the degree of threat he and his followers posed and also how radical these ideas were in their refusal to acknowledge the established and centralised power base. Yet Austin Woolrych claims "The Levellers were in fact a precociously well organised pressure group, rather than a revolutionary movement". ...read more.

Conclusion

Some of these came to inform later historical events, such as the Russian and French Revolutions. They were significant in that they did, be it in conflicting ways, challenge Cromwell's power and his ideals and posed a real threat to his New Model Army. They were also significant in that they opened the doors to many more possibilities and fresh interpretations on spiritual and civic life. There is little evidence that any of these groups survived after the return of the Monarchy, but many of them exist in some form today. One could conclude that the most radical thought of the time was Cromwell's "reformation of manners", which attacked feudal, Crown and Church led structures of government, law and religious worship. With this he also unleashed an avalanche of further and even more extreme, therefore radical, ideas, many of which soon began to compromise and endanger his vision and the four fundamentals. The attitudes, expectations and change in thinking by Baptists, Presbyterians, Ranters, Quakers etc., help plant the seeds for democratic thought and constitutional Monarchy. This period of the Civil War was particularly significant because it was a time when a great range of experimental interpretations brought the people to question their relationship to God and law, to question the rulers and the ruled. Although a turbulent and an uncertain time, it certainly was a creative and innovative change in thinking. ...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. Millicent Fawcett's significance

    Prostitution was a rising predicament within Britain, often regarded as a social evil. "In 1860 there were apparently 25.000 prostitutes in London alone." Most people chose to ignore the situation and look on in repulsion.

  2. INTER-WAR PERIOD

    The mine-owners also rejected the report. On 30 April 1926, the mine-owners locked out the miners. The General Strike On May 4th the General Strike began. About 2m workers came out in support of the miners. Printers, dockers, railwaymen, metal-workers and power-station workers came out in sympathy.

  1. How far were the actions and beliefs of Charles responsible for the crisis of ...

    He was not confident in his own abilities so heavily relied on the advice of others, allowing him to be easily influenced and manipulated. He liked order and formality, rules and morality. He was a devout protestant in his beliefs yet admired the elaborateness of Catholicism, which did not bode well with his people.

  2. Spanish 5th period History.

    The discovery of the New World in 1492 and the influx of precious metals in the subsequent centuries made Spain the most powerful nation in Europe, and gave rise to the country's golden age renaissance. As the 17th century began, Spain reached its political, economic, and cultural apex.

  1. How do the poets in 'Charlotte O'Neils song' and 'Nothing Changed' show their feelings ...

    She is saying that it isn't the natural way of the world at all. By leaving England she can start a new life abroad where she will be able to have a better standard of living. The poet has explained some of the background to this poem.

  2. the perfect lie

    I do not care now, I think I have written enough and if the witch says it's not ill just have to serve her wicked punishment. I have other stuff to worry about. I have my future; I have my beloved parents, and my broken family.

  1. Examine the significance of radical though and attitudes in the Civil War Period. C1640-1660

    Ranter Laurence Clarkson declared in "The Ranters Religion", "I act not in flesh, but the representative of the whole creation: So what I can act...I will". As David Underdown states, "Even the doctrine of sin itself was not safe", refusing to accept the traditional interpretation of the bible.

  2. Assess the significance of Owain Glyndwr's revolt

    both his superior claim to the throne and links to the Percy family. After Mortimer was captured at the battle of Bryn Glas, Henry IV refused to pay the ransom demanded for his release. This was due to the fact that he had a greater claim to the throne than

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