The Glorious Revolution, 1688 – 1689
Episode #1 of the course “Revolutions that changed the world”
The Glorious Revolution is also known as the Revolution of 1688 or the Bloodless Revolution. It is an English revolution that removed King James II, his wife, and their son from power. The people of England were unhappy with James II because he was Roman Catholic, and that alienated most of the population, who were Protestant.
Apparently James II suspended the penal laws against dissenters and recusants of religion, which meant that people could enjoy more religious freedom. In April of 1688, he ordered that the Declaration of Indulgence, which suspended the penal laws, be read from every pulpit on two successive Sundays. Several bishops asked him not to do this, including William Sancroft, the archbishop of Canterbury, but he had these bishops imprisoned for their negative views. As a result, seven prominent Englishmen wrote to William of Orange, inviting him to come over with an army to remove James II.
William was both James’s nephew and son-in-law via marriage to Mary, James’ daughter. That meant that Mary was the heir to the throne (until the later birth of James’s son). William accepted the invitation to come and advanced slowly upon London. Support fell for the current king, and there was virtually no bloodshed in the uprising. James II fled to France, and William summoned Parliament to agree to treat James’s departure as an abdication and offer the crown jointly to both William and Mary. Shortly thereafter, they created a law that barred Roman Catholics from taking the throne. They also abolished the crown’s power to suspend the enforcement and effect of laws. This revolution also established Parliament as the “true” ruling power in England.
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