The article is devoted to some specificities of the English bourgeois revolution.
The English civil war or the English revolution is a bourgeois revolution. The word “bourgeois” is very important because it helps us to understand many aspects of the past. When we talk about revolution, we ask, who was the overthrow, and for what. But it is more important to us to know, who overthrew.
In the 17 century, there was a confrontation between the two sides. Feudal lords (high nobility, bishops, King Charles I Stuart himself) and the bourgeoisie (new gentry). During the first half of the 17th century, the confrontation took place within the Parliament. On the one hand, there was a king who wanted absolute power, the right to dissolve and assemble Parliament, and the land lease, which was to become the basis of the state economy. But there was a parliamentary opposition that protected the interests of those who wanted to manage their land, did not want to pay senseless taxes and those who became rich through trade and the production of goods.
The English civil war is not only the king's war with those who were dissatisfied with his rule. This is, first of all, the war between the old feudal world and the new capitalist world.
What were church changes? Now the church, regardless of confessions, seems to people to be the most conservative social institution. But it has changed and changed in the past too. In particular, in Europe in the 16th century, the Protestant teachings of John Calvin were actively spread. This teaching was brought to England by English Protestants who went away from England when Mary I Tudor, who was a Catholic, ruled there. The Protestants found the Anglican Church similar to the Catholic Church. It involved impressive rituals, inefficient use of money, and was not suitable for the commoners. Calvin's teaching was about simplicity, engaging in godly deeds, work that involved being honest, and making money. The parishioners of this Church began to be called Puritans. By the 40s of the 17th century, they, as part of various radical movements, had firmly entered the life of the Anglican Church. The questions they posed became more and more relevant. The first question was what a real Christian should be. The second main question was how much the сhurch should have depended on the monarch, and whether he had the right to interfere in the internal affairs of the church. This question was rather acute because the English king was the head of the Anglican Church.
In this way, the English Revolution was not yet a conflict between that part of the clergy that wanted more independence and that part of the clergy that wanted to preserve their old opportunities and feudal privileges.
What were the advantages of an absolute monarchy? In a country with an absolute monarchy, all the most important economic and political decisions are made by only one person and his immediate environment.
The policy of the English kings during the English Revolution was absolutist. In 17th century England, the parliament during the reign of the Stuarts was not a permanent body of the king's advisers but often convened when necessary. By the time the English Revolution began in 1640. Charles I did not convene parliament for 11 years, although he ruled for only 15 years. On the other hand, the last Queen of the Tudor family, Elizabeth II, was also a completely absolutist ruler.
Strong royal power became a problem at the moment when the Independent Market emerged, which needed more independence to develop and grow. When this market does not exist, due to undeveloped means of production, insufficient communications, which are necessary for mass free trade, or due to social order, then the strengths of absolutist rule come to the fore. A strong absolutist one-man ruler gives a great advantage to the speed of decision-making and the speed of their execution, this is very important for the country in the case of serious external enemies.
Let's consider the events of the English bourgeois revolution. The emergence of new technical forms of production, the development of trade, the spread of Puritanism, and the loss of the significance of absolutism led to the fact that in England in 1640 a series of events began, during which two civil wars occurred, Charles I was beheaded, the country began to be ruled by an almost military dictatorship under the leadership Lord Oliver Cromwell, after whose death the monarchy was returned, but the country had already become completely different, it stood firmly on the path of capitalist development.
What triggered these events? How did it all start? If you do not take into account most of the unpopular measures that were taken by Charles I, high taxes or high duties that hindered the development of production, or, for example, biased courts, or even censorship, then there will still be two aspects that historians must take into account. The first of these aspects is the religious reforms of Charles I. In particular, the reform in Scotland. The first part of the reforms concerned power in Scotland. It was taken away from the local nobility and surrendered to bishops loyal to Charles.
Another part of the reforms concerned directly the church service, which the king wanted to conduct throughout his country to a common result. When Charles's subordinates tried to hold a new liturgy, mass uprisings of the common people began throughout Scotland, which then led to the outrage of the local noble opposition. It canceled all local reforms, so a war began between the king and his Scottish subordinates.
At the same time, an uprising happened in Ireland in 1641. Charles I needed money for the warrior, but no one helped him. It happened because of the law on ship money. Another reason was a tax that all people once refused to pay. After that, everyone considered the uprisings in Ireland and Scotland as a reason to demand the king to stop introducing such reforms.
Charles I decided to reorganize the fleet, build new ships, but he did not like the model that operated in England. Instead of ships, money was collected from the regions directly, which was sent to the royal treasury, and from where it was already sent to the shipyards where the ships were built. On the one hand, thanks to this reform, England really built a new powerful fleet, but on the other hand, no one at that time understood why it was necessary to build it now.
The main problems were that the king did not agree on the decision with parliament, and now all inhabitants of England had to pay the tax on ships, even those who did not even have an outlet to the sea. As a result, in the early 40s, the parliament refused to give the King money for the army and began a long parliament. He demanded that the king transfer most of his rights and privileges, abolish many taxes, and make a few more changes that were supposed to turn feudal absolutist England into capitalist England. The king entered a civil war with parliament, but lost two civil wars in a row, then was executed.
Summing up, let's say that in the English revolution the bourgeoisie won. The UK is a successful country these days. It is in tenth place in the world in terms of GDP, the main percentage of which is in the financial and manufacturing sectors. Instead of agriculture and the sale of raw materials, England supplies services and goods, having ample opportunities for the extraction of raw materials. The high level of the English economy provides the British with a high standard of living. This success is also a consequence of the English bourgeois revolution.
In the 17th century, ineffective feudal habits and traditions were eliminated. England embarked on the path of the Industrial Revolution. The era of free enterprise has begun. The transformation of land into a commodity contributed to the emergence of a class of free workers. All this turned England into the workshop of the world, producing a large number of goods, and the need for new sales markets ready to consume these goods will give rise to the English need for colonies that will provide the kingdom with a new resource base. A new civil free society began to emerge. All these are the consequences of the English bourgeois revolution.
This story shows very well how strongly our decisions affect the future. History is the result of the sum of all human decisions.
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