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Monarchy - 13 The Glorious Revolution

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Monarchy

Series Three
Episode Two

The Glorious Revolution

The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England (VII of Scotland and II of Ireland) in 1688 by a union of Parliamentarians with an invading army led by the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange) who as a result ascended the English throne as William III of England. The expression "Glorious Revolution" was first used by John Hampden in late 1689, and is an expression that is still used by the Westminster Parliament.

The Glorious Revolution is also occasionally termed the Bloodless Revolution, albeit inaccurately. In England there were two significant clashes between the two armies, and anti-Catholic riots in several towns. There was also the Williamite War in Ireland and serious fighting in Scotland (notably the Battles of Killicrankie and the Dunkeld). The revolution also led to the collapse of the Dominion of New England and the overthrow of Maryland's government.

The Revolution is closely tied in with the events of the War of the Grand Alliance on mainland Europe, and may be seen as the last successful invasion of England. It can be argued that James's overthrow began modern English parliamentary democracy: never since has the monarch held absolute power, and the Bill of Rights has become one of the most important documents in the political history of Britain. The deposition of the Roman Catholic James II ended any chance of Catholicism becoming re-established in England, and also led to limited toleration for nonconformist Protestants—it would be some time before they had full political rights. For Catholics, however, it was disastrous both socially and politically. Catholics were denied the right to vote and sit in the Westminster Parliament for over 100 years afterwards. They were also denied commissions in the army and the monarch was forbidden to be Catholic or marry a Catholic, thus ensuring the Protestant succession.

The invasion ended all attempts by England, in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century, to subdue the Dutch Republic by military force. However, the personal union, the common market and the cooperation between the English and Dutch navies shifted the dominance in world trade from the Republic to England (and then to the United Kingdom of Great Britain).

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