the british civil war - the politics: revolutionary beliefs & ideas   

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Browse down the page or just click one of these sections.... 
1. Religious Belief

The reformation and religious change
The independent/dissenter churches
More thorough essays

2. Ideas of Kingship
3. Revolutionary Ideas
Levellers & Diggers
Putney Debates
3. Revolution in Practice: Commonwealth  &
Protectorate (separate page)
 Our sites on the civil war period (1630-1660):
  Background to civil war period
  People of the civil war
  Military Events
  Beliefs & ideas
  The Commonwealth & Protectorate
  The 1660 Restoration Settlement
  Site Map - Civil War period (1630-60)       

        Revision, 1646-52

        Revision, Cromwell



casahistoria is recommended by many sites including:




1. Religious Beliefs                                                   go to top of page


The reformation and religious change

The independent/dissenter churches

  • English Dissenters Bibliography and summaries of English sects and religious dissidents of the Tudor, Stuart and Interregnum periods in Great Britain. From the very useful exlibris site. Includes:
Fifth Monarchists
Free-will Men

More thorough essays

  • Puritanism and Predestination focus is on the American colonies but ideas applied to England. By Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware
  • Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism Key chapter (5) from Max Webers "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" of 1905 in which he draws connections between the nature of acquisitive protestantism and capitalism
  • Britain’s very own Taliban New Statesman article by historian Tristram Hunt, in which he asserts that ‘Oliver Cromwell's Puritans were fundamentalists who banned Christmas, outlawed holly and covered up their women’, and Cromwell himself was not a hero of the common man and protector of democracy.
  • Signs and Wonders and the English Civil War Chris Durston records how the monstrous and the supernatural were seized on by political and religious factions in seventeenth century England as signs of judgment. Published in History Today, Volume: 37 Issue: 10 Currently free access. May change and trial subscription needed.


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2. Ideas of Kingship  go to top of page



Go to People of the civil war for more on Charles I (and trial/execution)




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3. Revolutionary Ideas  go to top of page



  • The Levellers: Libertarian Revolutionaries  A clear overview of the early movement during the English Civil War and its legacy. By Nick Elliott of the Adam Smith Institute, 1989.
  • The Levellers BBC article from their Historic Figures series. Persevere - may be slow to load.  §
  • The Levellers and the Tradition of Dissent Thorough essay by Tony Benn MP illustrating how the Levellers were early christian radicals whose ideas helped to shape the American and French revolutions, and inspired generations of socialists.
  • Levellers, Selected Texts Various Leveller texts originally published as The English Levellers by Andrew Sharp. Good introduction to Leveller ideas.
  • The World Turned Upside Down Original documents from the Diggers and Levellers, as well as early Quakers - but you need to get past the opening paragraphs first!!
  • Lilburne, John Radical political firebrand who began his career as a martyr for Puritan doctrine, became a champion of the Levellers and political democracy, and ended his days as a Quaker and pacifist. (BCW&C)
  • John Lilburne - Leveller leader Interesting page of basic detail and facsimile docs from Britains National Archive.


The Putney Debates

  • John Milton Melvyn Bragg discusses how Milton's poetry betrayed his political stance during the English Civil War. Listen to the discussion between John Carey, (Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Oxford University), Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary College, and Blair Worden, Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Sussex and author of Roundhead Reputations - The English Civil Wars and the Passions of Posterity.
  • Heavenly muse  Review article of Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot by Anna Beer. From The Economist
  • The Mystery of genius. Andrew Motion, the poet laureate, salutes Anna Beer's reliable guide to Milton
  • Dreams of equality: the levelling poor of the English Revolution A review of Brian Manning, The Far Left in the English Revolution 1640 to 1660. By Judy Cox in International Socialism Journal


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