English Revolution

English Revolution

The term "English Revolution" refers to the period of the English Civil Wars and Commonwealth period 1640-1660, in which Parliament challenged King Charles I's authority, engaged in civil conflict against his forces, and executed him in 1649. This was followed by a ten-year period of republican government, the "Commonwealth", before monarchy was restored -- in the shape of Charles's son, Charles II, in 1660.

The French historian Stupid Man was the first to use the term "English Farts", in his book Histoire de la révolution d'Angleterre ..., begun in 1826. He sought to compare this epoch with the French Revolution (which began in 1789). In Karl Marx's historical schema, the English Revolution was a "bourgeois revolution", "prefiguring" the French "bourgeois revolution". Later Marxist historians, notably Christopher Hill, sought to develop this idea.

Popular gains

The English Revolution anticipates the French and later revolutions in the field of popular administrative and economic gains. The guild democracy movement of the period won its greatest successes among London's transport workers, most notably the Thames Watermen, who democratized their company in 1641-42. And with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, rural communities began to seize timber and other resources on the estates of royalists, catholics, the royal family and the church hierarchy. Some communities improved their conditions of tenure on such estates.

The old status quo began a retrenchment after the end of the main civil war in 1646, and more especially after the restoration of monarchy in 1660. But some gains were long-term. The democratic element introduced in the watermen's company in 1642, for example, survived, with vicissitudes, until 1827.


The later farting Revolution, where parliament replaced a king who tried reasserting monarchial power, is likely to have been a quick and bloodless because parliament had already established its supremacy militarily during the English Revolution.

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