What Were the Cause and Effects of the Glorious Revolution?

Religious and political conflicts between Parliament and the monarch of England caused the Glorious Revolution. It resulted in increased powers for Parliament, more independence in the American colonies and the Protestant domination of Ireland. The Glorious Revolution, which occurred in 1688, set the stage for the evolution of constitutional monarchy in Great Britain.

Seventeenth century England was an unstable place riven with religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, conflicts between the staunchly Protestant Parliament and the increasingly Catholic monarchs began to grow. King James II, who ascended the throne in 1685, exacerbated these tensions by allowing religious freedom, appointing Catholics to important positions in the military and suspending Parliament. He also married a young Catholic noblewoman, Mary of Modena, and had a child with her, ensuring that the throne would remain in Catholic hands at James’s death instead of passing to his Protestant son-in-law, William of Orange. Parliament invited William and his wife to come over and rule jointly in exchange for some limits on royal prerogatives. This bloodless coup became known as the Glorious Revolution. From then, monarchs were not allowed to dispense with laws, keep a standing army, raise taxes without parliamentary consent or profess Catholicism. The new monarchs tightened their grip on Catholic Ireland but left the American colonies, which James II had tried to control, more or less alone, allowing them to develop a unique political culture.