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Glorious Revolution in 1688

Glorious Revolution is an accepted in the historiography name of a coup in 1688 in England, in the result of which was deposed King James II Stuart. This event is also called in the historical literature as “The Revolution in 1688” and “bloodless revolution”.

In the coup was involved a Dutch expeditionary force commanded by the ruler of the Netherlands William of Orange, who became the new king of England under the name of William III (in a joint rule with his wife Mary II Stuart, daughter of James II). The coup was widely supported among the different strata of English society. (Quinn 2005)

The pre-history to the revolution starts with accession to the throne of England and Scotland, James II. A few months after the coronation of James began to pursue policies that caused the extreme displeasure of most Anglican: under the pretext of minor King riots created a standing army, whose size grew rapidly to 40,000 soldiers. Later in November 1685 parliament was dissolved. In 1687 the king issued the “Declaration on Religious Tolerance” favorable to the Catholics. The policy of religious tolerance has caused strong protests of Anglican bishops. The King in response ordered to conclude 10 bishops in the Tower. Some opponents of the time Jacob hoped to death of the old king, but in 1688 the 55-year-old James II suddenly had a son, and this event was an incitement to revolt. Anti-Jacobite forces (both the Tories and Whigs) have decided to discuss options for replacement of “tyrant” with a Dutch couple – Mary and William.

In 1688 James II intensified persecution of the Anglican clergy, and finally fell out with the Tories. Unhappy with the policy of King seven prominent British politicians – Earl T. Denbigh, Earl of Shrewsbury, Charles, Lord William Cavendish, Viscount R. Lemley, Admiral E. Russell, Bishop of London, Compton and Sydney – have written a secret invitation to William, in which assured that 19 out of 20 Britons wanted coup and the reign of the Protestant king. 15 November 1688 William landed in England with an army of 40,000 infantry (including men) and 5,000 cavalrymen. Invasion force consisted almost entirely of Protestants, including the British Whig emigrants, on its banner were inscribed the words: “I will support Protestantism and freedom in England.” (Cruickshanks 2000)

The coup was actively supported by townspeople, Protestant and parliamentary leaders, government ministers. Jacob II being afraid for his life ran away to France, and in January 1689 the Parliament declared William and his wife the monarchs of England and Scotland on equal basis. The main consequence of the revolution was the establishment in England of a constitutional monarchy in which the highest authority and the will of a large part of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, began to carry out the Parliament. The victory of aristocracy and bourgeoisie over royal absolutism was fixed in 1689 in the “Bill of Rights.” (Cruickshanks 2000)

During the reign of William III were carried out deep reforms that laid the foundation of political and economic systems. During these years began a rapid development of England and its transformation into a mighty world power. Also after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in Britain the monarch’s powers considerably decreased, however, with respect to the colonies in America they even increased. This was manifested in the fact that was seriously diminished the power of local assemblies, and the fact that more colonies became a royal possession. Governance of the New World was conducted through representation of the English monarch and the publication of the royal instructions as legislative acts. (Black 2000)



Black, Donald M., MacRaid (2000). Studying History (2 ed.). Palgrave.
Cruickshanks, Eveline (2000). The Glorious Revolution (British History in Perspective). Palgrave Macmillan.
Quinn, S. “The Glorious Revolution of 1688”. EH.Net Encyclopedia. April 17, 2003. Retrieved from: http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/quinn.revolution.1688