The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary England: An Essay on the by Alastair MacLachlan

By Alastair MacLachlan

Does England have a innovative culture? opposed to the view of a reliable England pervaded via the values of compromise and slow swap, Marxist historians from the Thirties have regarded to the occasions of the 17th century and argued that England may well, certainly, have a good time a progressive earlier. In exploring the specified contribution of Christopher Hill, 'The Historians' crew of the Communist occasion' and different radical historians to British historiography, this research lines the increase and fall of progressive England.

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Trevelyan, writing in the heyday of progressive Edwardian Liberalism, the English Civil War was quite unlike the 'dark story' of the French Revolution. 'The French Revolution was a war of two societies . . but the Great Rebellion was a war of two parties': The French Revolution appealed to the needs as well as to the aspirations of mankind. But in England the revolutionary passions were stirred by no class in its own material interest. Our patriots were prosperous men, enamoured of liberty, or of religion, or of loyalty, each for her own sake, not as the handmaid of class greed.

But the Great Rebellion was a war of two parties': The French Revolution appealed to the needs as well as to the aspirations of mankind. But in England the revolutionary passions were stirred by no class in its own material interest. Our patriots were prosperous men, enamoured of liberty, or of religion, or of loyalty, each for her own sake, not as the handmaid of class greed. n In the sensible compromising virtues of the Whigs and Tories of the Convention Parliament, Trevelyan now descried 'the English way': the victory of moderation over 'fanaticism in religion and politics', toleration over 'enthusiasm'; 28 The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary England the confirmation of 'respect for law' which over time 'stood up to the stress of the democratic movement, the French Revolution and the social problems of industrial change'; 'the beginnings of the great emollient of the common ills of life1: the English humanitarian movement.

Tawney, a High Church Anglican whose writing, none the less, pulsated with the metaphors of the English Bible, they centred on the battle against the acquisitive instinct which had dried up social charity and delegitimized the communal principle over the previous four centuries. Christians like Tawney, indeed, were filled with the same burning desire as were Marxists to uproot a social system which condemned millions to immiseration. " For Communists, indeed, the borrowing of the idioms of Dissent went hand in hand with a rejection of its content.

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