English Revolution: Causes, Consequences and Discussions - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1904 Words
Date:  2023-04-26


The English revolution took place in the 17th century. The revolution would pit crown supporters against parliamentary supporters. The most significant consequence of the war was the disposing and execution of King Charles 1. Other effects include the introduction of a new form of government, strengthening of parliament in political and legislative matters. As a result of the revolution, there were discussions on the rights and freedoms and their limits. The following paper seeks to understand the scholarly importance of the revolution by focusing on its outcomes.

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Before the English revolution, land in England was held through feudalism(Stenton). William, the conqueror, introduced feudalism as a means of controlling England. Under feudalism, the king was the owner of all the land. However, due to the vast size of England, King William subdivided the land among his supporters. These supporters were now referred to as barons. Due to the size of their new pieces of land, barons divided the land among knights. The knights had to maintain law and order in their areas, collect taxes, offer soldiers during the war, and ensure there were enough laborers. The typical Englishmen were at the bottom of the hierarchy. They had to provide free labor under inhuman conditions. They also resented William the Conqueror since he was an outsider in England and had risen to his position through violence.

Therefore, after the revolution, the poor English people resisted feudalism as a means of land ownership(Winstanley). Borrowing part of their argument from the bible, they held that God created all land. Therefore, the king and his supporters had no absolute right to the area. All Englishmen had the right to own property and enjoy its fruits without consideration of their social status and lineage. According to the poor, elites inherited their farms from their parents who had acquired it through force; hence it was up to them to give up the grounds and right their parent's wrongs.

Additionally, the weak demand for the introduction of communism and socialism by proposing an end to the monetization of the economy (Winstanley). The use of money to acquire basic needs and the use of the same to pay taxes was creating inequalities in society. Payment of fees and trade through cash is a creation of the elites, the poor argue. According to them, his borders on blasphemy since the elites have their faces stamped on the coins.

The poor people's agitation for fair land ownership was successful, with the end of feudalism (Winstanley). However, in contemporary society, most of the nobles own the majority of the land. However, ordinary people do not have to offer free labor and become slaves to earn a living. There has also been a growth of capitalism in England; however, the government has strengthened social services to ensure that the poor and weak in society can meet their basic needs. Therefore, the revolution set the stage for current land ownership laws and the establishment of a social system.

John Lilburne, Master William, among others as a means of uniting the English monarchy, wrote an agreement of the people of England. At the time of writing, the writers were in captivity. The writers intend to bring peace according to their introduction. They begin by quoting Mathew chapter 5, verse nine, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God"(Lilburne, et al.). Also, the writers state their intention to bring peace and happiness to the kingdom, by using the years of war and affliction as motivation to offer an acceptable document for all English people. This document is the foundation for modern-day rights such as the right to vote, equal representation in parliament, equality of all before the law, and the right not to join the army. The following is a discussion of the outcomes of this document.

The document sets the foundation for the formation of modern-day English parliament and system of governance. For example, it identifies, parliament as a custodian of people's power( Lilburne, et al.). Therefore, parliament is the only body that has the mandate to make and alter laws on behalf of the people. The number of representatives was set at a maximum of four hundred with all men over the age of twenty-one having the right to vie in the elections. However, servants and former allies of King Charles 1 were not to take part in the polls for ten years. It also advocates for proportional representation across the country, regardless of the economic status of the regions. The writers, went ahead to propose means of ensuring fair remuneration for the members of parliament. It allows the sitting parliament to determine the salaries of the incoming parliament. These principles are relevant today and still held by the British parliament and several other parliaments across the world. The role of parliament as the ultimate legislative power is in practice in democracies around the globe.

The English revolution introduced the idea of term limits and holding regular elections (Lilburne, et al.). According to the agreement, representatives of the people serve for a year, upon which members would be eligible to vie again. This principle, allows the public to participate in the running of government through voting. Elections allow the public to vote for leaders whom they relate with and hold their interests at heart. To ensure that parliamentarians are close to the people, they hold sessions for four consecutive months, with adjournments of up to two months. The breaks allow parliamentarians to interact with their constituents and understand their pressing needs. Parliamentarians that exceed their term limit are to face treason charges. Modern democracies have term limits for all elected leaders.

The agreement of the people creates possibilities for the formation of parliamentary committees (Lilburne, et al.). This committee should constitute parliamentarians only. The committee will handle special duties when in session or during recess. Many parliaments across the world follow this process. Formation of parliament committees, allows for division of the legislative process, hence allowing for consideration of several laws at the same time. It also allows for specialization in legislation. Therefore, if a bill is technical, a committee of experienced parliamentarians comments on the bill before giving a report to the House for consideration.

In the aftermath of the English revolution, Mr. John Milton went in front of the parliament to plead for the end to censorship in printed media. An analysis of his speech before the parliament indicates that he was ahead of his time. His argument was rejected by parliament, but it has taken root in the contemporary world. The following is an analysis of his speech and its relevance to the modern world.

Areopagitica is an influential defense of the right to speech and expression. Milton's actions were the result of the enactment of the Licensing order of 1643. The law required authors to be licensed by the government before the publication of their books(Milton). Additionally, the books had to be taken before a licensor, who would determine if they are vulgar and misleading. Milton himself had endured the most of censorship after his writings defending divorce went through editing.

Milton begins his defense by highlighting the need for constructive criticism in society. He argues that the epitome of freedom is having members of the community speaking their minds openly about the activities in society. Therefore, holders of public office and the public should be willing to take criticism(Milton). He agrees that books play a critical role in society. Books can instill superstition and discredit a man's reputation by spreading falsehoods. He urges, parliament to look for alternative means to regulate publishing. He further argues that censorship will be the bane of reason. Books allow readers to forget their reality and indulge in the writers' fantasies.

Milton further argues that books are a record of the people's history. Censoring would inhibit the ability of writers to keep an accurate record of society(Milton). Censorship, therefore, would open an account to distortion and manipulation.

Additionally, censorship, according to Milton, equates a boy to a man. This is because none of them can read or write what they wish(Milton). Men consume what the licensor deems fit for them. Licencing inhibits the right to freedom, because authors have to check themselves and ensure they are using the correct grammar and endure their ideas align with the government. Furthermore, licensing demeans the status of a writer. This is because despite being law-abiding and honest with their arguments, writers have to contend with laws that make them appear uninformed. According to Milton, writers research and consult their peers and experts in the field they write about; however, licensors are not necessarily educated in the same area. Therefore, a licensor cannot determine what is right and wrong.

Censorship opens the writers to intimidation(Milton). They cannot express themselves openly. They have to ensure their humor and creativity will be favorable to the licensor. Furthermore, Milton questions the independence of a licensor who earns from the state. This state provides that there can be no freedom of expression. Also, the country cannot ensure the licensor is suitable for the job. Finally, Milton argues, censorship is not adequate in preventing the spread of immoral ideas. A licensor will have to allow for printing, what society already considers vulgar. Therefore, they cannot censor word of mouth or human thoughts.

However, Milton presents an alternative solution that is applicable in the modern world. He advocates for books to hold the author and publisher's name(Milton). Therefore, if a book is vulgar identification of the author is easy. Milton's ability to relate censorship and inhibition of freedom to expression makes Areopagitica an intriguing scholarly work. Contemporary society uses some of its principles. For example, independent sectors of society, such as media, have peer censorship bodies that ensure quality while limiting state interference.

The English revolution further demands scholarly attention due to the debates on voting and who has the right to vote. These debates are still relevant today as society continues refining democracy and shaping it to fit the unique demands of each community. After the English revolution, bates were held in Putney seeking to find an agreement on the form of the new government. The following is an analysis of the debate around voting.

Before the revolution, the poor had little, if any say on the running of government. They would provide labor and taxes to the crown. However, after the revolution, England attempted to introduce democracy that would run concurrently with the monarch. Therefore, at Putney, some members advocate for the introduction of universal suffrage. Through universal suffrage, all men are equal, and each has one vote (Clarke Manuscripts).

Additionally, there were to be no limitations on voting, according to lineage and social class. Hence, the poor and the rich would have an equal say on the running of government. Proponents of universal suffrage also advocate for similar representation of all regions in the House of Representatives.

According to Rainborough, English had to be under the new government. For the efficient running of the government, all the people had to accept this state. However, if sections of the society were denied the right to vote for their government and representatives, they had the right to resist submitting to the appointed government. Consequently, he would argue that all members of England had a right to life; therefore, it was necessary to enable everyone has the ab...

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English Revolution: Causes, Consequences and Discussions - Essay Sample. (2023, Apr 26). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/english-revolution-causes-consequences-and-discussions-essay-sample

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