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Regicide or Revolution?: What Petitioners Wanted, September 1648 - February 1649

Norah Carlin

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Breviary Stuff Publications
20 February 2020
British & Irish history; English Civil War
The dozens of petitions addressed to Parliament and the army in the five months before Charles I's execution are widely recognised as having influenced the events that led to his trial and death. A few phrases or short passages from the texts have frequently been quoted by historians, and some have argued that they represent no more than a propaganda campaign engineered by a small number of political and military leaders. There has never before been a comprehensive examination of these texts, over sixty in number, and only the whole body of them in all its diversity can offer a real prospect of assessing their contribution. They are presented here with as much information as could be gathered about the background and context of each. The evidence suggests that although sometimes prompted from above, all but a few of the texts were produced by groups of activists in meetings and discussion, and gained the support of larger numbers in subscriptions.

The petitions were responding to events as they occurred, and we must avoid the temptation to see them as causing the events that followed - especially the king's execution, which has been a focus for hindsight almost since it happened. None of them call openly for the king's death, and even among those that call for vengeance for the blood spilt in the civil wars, only a few name him directly. Many express concern for the common people's rights and liberties, and a substantial minority call for a radical redefinition of the English constitution, with the House of Commons at its centre as representative of the people. Some list reforms in the law and society that reveal a wider vision of revolution for England, and very many expand on their own interpretation of the civil wars and more recent events.
By:   Norah Carlin
Imprint:   Breviary Stuff Publications
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 156mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   560g
ISBN:   9781916158603
ISBN 10:   1916158609
Pages:   364
Publication Date:   20 February 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  General/trade ,  Further / Higher Education ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for Regicide or Revolution?: What Petitioners Wanted, September 1648 - February 1649

'Popular petitions were at the very heart of the revolutionary crisis of 1648-1649 and this book is unique in recovering their meaning, the context in which they were issued, and the people who wrote and supported them. Essential reading.' John Rees, author of The Leveller Revolution 'The petitions Norah Carlin has transcribed and carefully contextualized in Regicide or Revolution? represent an incredibly important cache of materials for understanding the crisis of the English Revolution, the trial and execution of Charles I. Carlin convincingly demonstrates that these petitions were not straightforward demands for bloody retribution. Rather, their content varied considerably, incorporating radical demands for legal, social and constitutional reform, giving historians a highly important window into the ideals and aspirations of the 'well affected' both within and outside the army. The collection should be required reading for scholars and students of the English Revolution, and the general reader alike.' Ted Vallance, University of Roehampton, London 'At last the army petitions of 1648-9 have found their editor and historian. Every student of the English Revolution will be indebted to Norah Carlin for bringing together in one place the soldiers' petitions, from all over England and Wales, that demanded justice, however they conceived it, after the first and second civil wars. Each petition has been carefully edited, set in context, and assessed in what is an authoritative edition of very important documents in the history of relations between Parliament, army and people.' Stephen K. Roberts, Director, History of Parliament Trust


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