The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America’s Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history—the late-seventeenth-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution.
In a work of popular history that stands with recent favorites such as David McCullough’s 1776 and Joseph J. Ellis’s Founding Brothers, Michael Barone brings the story of this unlikely and largely bloodless revolt to American readers and reveals that, without the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution may never have happened.
Unfolding in 1688–1689, Britain’s Glorious Revolution resulted in the hallmarks of representative government, guaranteed liberties, the foundations of global capitalism, and a foreign policy of opposing aggressive foreign powers. But as Barone shows, there was nothing inevitable about the Glorious Revolution. It sprang from the character of the English people and depended on the talents, audacity, and good luck of two men: William of Orange (later William III of England), who launched history’s last successful cross-channel inva sion, and John Churchill, an ancestor of Winston, who commanded the forces of the deposed James II but crossed over to support William one fateful November night.
The story of the Glorious Revolution is a rich and riveting saga of palace intrigue, loyalty and shocking betrayal, and bold political and military strategizing. With narrative drive, a sure command of historical events, and unforgettable portraits of kings, queens, soldiers, parliamentarians, and a large cast of full-blooded characters, Barone takes an episode that has fallen into unjustified obscurity and restores it to the prominence it deserves. Especially now, as we face enemies who wish to rid the world of the lasting legacies of the Glorious Revolution—democracy, individual rights, and capitalism among them—it is vitally important that we understand the origins of these blessings.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Our First Revolution|
|Release Date: 05-08-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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Our First Revolution
The Improbable Revolution
The First Revolution: what is generally known as the Glorious Revolution. In recent years Americans have been devouring books on our nation’s Founding Fathers—Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton—some written by academic historians, others by gifted professional writers. As these writers help us understand, the Founders did not spring from a historical vacuum. Before the break with the Crown, they regarded themselves as Englishmen, as inheritors of the system of government and the traditional liberties of England. As they moved daringly into a revolutionary and republican future, they looked back on a heritage that was shaped by many historical events. Not least among them was what most Englishmen referred to as the Glorious Revolution of 1688–89. This term referred to the series of events that resulted in the ouster of King James II and the installation of King William III and Queen Mary II, and in changes in English law, governance, and politics that turned out to be major advances for representative government, guaranteeing liberties, global capitalism, and a foreign policy of opposing hegemonic powers on the European continent and in the world beyond.
The First Revolution, as it will be called here, was a reference point, an example, indeed a glowing example, for the American Founders. The Founding Fathers began their rebellion not by rejecting the achievements of the Glorious Revolution, but by arguing that Parliament and King George III were denying them their rights as Englishmen that were gained in that Revolution and the revolutionary settlemen