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Research paper topic: Christopher Hill: The Class Strugle Of The English Revolution - 1044 words
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Christopher Hill: The Class Strugle Of The English Revolution As a prolific historian and scholar of 17th century England, Christopher Hill has taken a unique historical perspective on the Civil War and its manifestations. He perceives the revolution as being a bourgeois insurrection . He also believes that this is the reason for the shaping of England since that time. In 1913 R. G Usher wrote: The English Revolution of 1640 is as much an enigma today as it was to Charles.
It is a riddle, which has to be solved. No one has tried to solve it because all assumed it was solved be repeating the Grand Remonstrance. Every Englishman born since 1800 has..been born into a view of English history. Christopher Hill did his part to dissect the Revolution and make sense of it. The following will describe some of his findings on the subject. This paper will demonstrate Hills unprecedented knowledge and understanding of the events in the 17th century.
It will look extensively at some of his works, namely: Some Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution, Change and Continuity in 17th Century England, The Good Old Cause 1640-1660, and his first book The English Revolution 1640 . Hills interpretation that three main people influenced the revolution will also be demonstrated in this paper. He was born in York in 1912 as John Edward Christopher Hill. While attending college in the 1930s, Hill embraced Marxism, an ideology that focuses on struggles between the different social classes. This is where how he based his interpretation of the revolution.
Later, he attributed the revolution to this by citing the middle class upheaval as being the primary source. He has also produced exceptional books that probe subjects such as the Anglican Church and Puritanism. Hill was also a member of the Historians Group of the Communist Party (HGCP). Some of the other members included an extraordinary group, namely Rodney Hilton, Eric Honsbawm, and E.P. Thompson.
Hill and other members of the HGCP founded Past and Present, an innovative scholarly journal. To this day, Hill is still closely associated with this publication. Hills first book, The English Revolution 1640, aims to look at the English Revolution as a great social movement similar to the one that came in France in 1789. Hill suggests that the power was handed over to a different class after the Revolution. The civil war was a class war, in which the despotism of Charles I was defended by the reactionary forces of the established Church and the conservative landlords. Parliament beat the King because it could appeal to the enthusiastic support of the trading and industrial classes in town and countryside, to the yeomen and progressive gentry, and to wider masses of the population whenever they were able by free discussion to understand what the struggle was really about.
The war in England was between the King and Parliament. Parliament wanted to end the tyrannical monarchy and its unfair treatment of the individual. These included imprisonment without a trial and jury, taxation without consent or representation, seizure of land, punishment for speaking out against the government, and also the attempted banishment of the Parliamentary body as a whole. Hill believes that the bourgeoisie party was influenced by this treatment and rose up against the monarchy; the typical action according to Marx. There was a political party that sprang up in London called the Levellers.
This party represented the views of the small producers, or Bourgeoisie. From an account of Leveller Rainborowe in 1647, he said if the writings be true, there have been many scufflings between the honest men of England and those that have tyrannised over them; and if it be read, there is none of those just and equitable laws that the people of England are born to but are intrenchment altogether. But..if the people find that they are not suitable to freemen as they are, I know no reason should deter me..from endeavouring by all means to gain anything that might be of more advantage to them than government under which we live. This proves Hills point of view in that the man who said this obviously was of a lower class and demanded that he be given the same rights as members of higher social classes. He said that he would do anything he could to gain anything he could and limit the power of the government in this respect.
Hill further emphasized his Marxist point of view in his book Reformation To Industrial Revolution . The rich feared the rogues and vegabonds would emboldenthe poor to say they must not starve, they will not starve, and proceed to direct action. What can rich men do against poor men if poor men rise and hold together? This is an account from a laborer who was tired of dealing with the same nonsense from the upper-classes in England. The English revolution, like the revolt of the Netherlands eighty years earlier, and the French revolution one hundred and fifty years later, started with a revolt of the nobles. As we all know, and this excerpt tells us, the French revolution also occurred for this same reason, a very dissatisfied and rebellious middle class.
One difference though between the English Revolution and that of the French is that there were no intellectual origins like there was at the time of the latter. There was no Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Karl Marx of the English revolution. It just happened, in typically British empirical way in which we always like to imagine ourselves muddling through: in a fit of absence of mind. A great revolution can almost never take place without ideas and reasons that would make a man kill or be willing to be killed. Since there were no definitive philosophers during this time there must have been something that the revolutionaries held close to them that gave them the desire to go ahead with their plan of action. There was.
The Bible, especially the Geneva Bible with its highly political marginal notes, came near to being a revolutionists handbook. With this and writings like Sir Walter Raleghs Prerogative of Parliaments or his History of the World. Oliver Cromwell has been noted to have recommended these works to other revolutionists of the time. For as long as his ...
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