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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Essay on Exclusion Crisis

INSTRUCTIONS:  1.       Discuss how the Exclusion crisis of 1679-1681 set the stage, perhaps ironically, for the Revolution of 1688. What were the political, ideological and constitutional issues at play in the Exclusion crisis, and how did they become resolved by the revolution of 1688? Following Trevelyan and Pincus, and the experiences of Scotland and Ireland, to what extent was 1688 truly a �bloodless revolution�?

Essay on Exclusion Crisis

            Britain was in a political chaos after being led by James II who has no legitimate child. James II’s goal was to pattern his rule after his cousin Louis IX of France. James II appointed the Catholic Church in England to redefine the political structure of a nation dominated by Protestants. The redefined Divine Right of King created a stir between the monarchy and the Parliament. The conflict between the two political groups has led to the Exclusion Crisis. Because the Parliament is getting concerned about the influence of the Catholics, it enacted a law that rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation. In a more deliberate act, the parliament passed the Exclusion Bill, which barred any Catholic heirs from the throne. This led to a constitutional crisis juggling the role of the Monarchy and the Parliament (Kenyon, 2000). 

James II ruled through Divine Rights that ignored English laws. He ordered the killing of hundreds of civilians after Protestant Duke of Monmouth attempted to attack James II’s forces. Catholic allies have gained political and military favours. Also, schools that are traditionally Protestant-run were forced to accept Catrholic doctrines.  There also an attempt to influence the parliament in Parliament to repealing the Test Acts and the Penal Laws (Kenyon, 2000). The strategy of James II was to develop and political culture considered an unnatural.  The actions of John Locke through his treatise were also considered as an act of revolution. The House of Whig only changed the meaning of revolution in 1688 despite the fact that the Opposition and Radical Whigs have already accepted that a revolution is at hand.  

The Glorious Revolutions has transformed the banking industry with the creation of the Bank of England, which subsidized industries. Feudalism came to an end because the property rights were also revised. Some of the other changes in the focus of England included the establishment of the post office, implementation of a much aggressive taxation scheme, and expanding of Britain colonies and territories. The Glorious revolution successfully defeated the Divine Rights of Kings and proceeded in limiting the Monarchy’s influence to the government. Social changes were evident and there was a sense of progress ongoing after the revolution. Another important legacy brought by the revolution was the passage of the Bill of Rights in 1869. This practically ended the ambition to establish a Catholic Monarchy and provided clear guidelines as to the power of the Monarchs (Pincus and Robinson, 2010).

            Unlike other forms of uprising, the Glorious Revolution was never described as bloody. Still, the element of a group seizing power from an incumbent was present. It was viewed more as an invasion because James II was already weakened and has to capacity to fight back. As the revolution takes place, James II suffered several military defeats and causing his forces to become more limited. In an attempt to recover his power, James asked the help of Irish Catholics and the French Army for one final offensive. Unfortunately for James II the combined forces of England, Scotland, Dutch, and Protestant colonist was just unconquerable. Much of the violence during the revolution escalated in Ireland.  Several Irish individuals, however, from all social classes have donated money for the revolutionary cause. The bloodshed could have been limited has James II’s sympathizers accepted their fate instead of causing sporadic trouble hoping to regain the reigns.

               The Exclusion Crisis is several ways influenced the Glorious Revolution. The Whigs were reacting to the emergence of Catholicism in British politics and the artificial evolution of the state. The Exclusion Crisis and its political aftermath initiated a bloodless uprising often described as ‘truly revolutionary’.  History suggests that bloodshed is necessary for any kind of revolution. The Glorious Revolution managed to commence and end with minimal violence and was more of clash of ideals and values.

Kenyon, J. The Popish Plot. New Haven, CT: Phoenix Press, Inc. 2000
Pincus, S. and Robinson, J. “What Really Happened During the Glorious Revolution?”
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2010.
Vallance, E. “The Glorious Revolution.” BBC. 17 February 2007, from:

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