1659: The Crisis of the Commonwealth
Title Details

318 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

1 b/w illus.

Series: Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series

Series Vol. Number: 38

Imprint: Royal Historical Society

1659: The Crisis of the Commonwealth

by Ruth E. Mayers

  • Description
  • Reviews
A review of the evidence for the popularity of the revival of the Commonwealth and the reasons for its ultimate failure.

1659 is one of the most significant years in British history. The return of the remnant of the Long Parliament signalled the reversal of the conservative tendencies of the Protectorate, and the revival of the Commonwealth. Denounced by its enemies as anarchical, the 'Rump Parliament' was nonetheless welcomed by many contemporaries, hoping for a lasting republic. Too often these hopes have been ignored by historians and the Republic dismissed as a chaotic epilogue to the Protectorate, or the prelude to an inevitable Restoration, an approach that neglects considerable evidence for the strength of the regime.
In a comprehensive examination of the restored Commonwealth, Dr Mayers redresses that imbalance. She explores in turn the sources of the Republic's adverse reputation, Parliament's domestic priorities, internal dynamics, and relations with the Army, the City of London, and the English and Welsh provinces, as well as foreign policy, the challenge of ruling Scotland, Ireland and the colonies, and the sophisticated republican endeavour to imagine the future constitution and project a positive political identity through ceremonial, iconography and the print debates. She shows that a functioning, effective regime had been established which attracted support from soldiers and civilians throughout the land for whom republicanism of various kinds remained avital energising force. She concludes with an investigation of the autumn crisis and its aftermath, showing that Parliament's second expulsion left irreconcilable divisions among its supporters which prevented the establishment of an alternative authority.

RUTH E. MAYERS is Assistant Professor of History at Geneva College, Pennsylvania. She did her first degree at Somerville College, Oxford, and the doctoral research upon which much of thebook is based at Washington Univeristy, St Louis. She is now working on a new biography of republican statesman Sir Henry Vane.
"A challenging and important book, which compels a reconsideration of the resurrected Rump." THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
"An enterprising revision of the prevailing historiography of the revised Commonwealth of 1659-60." ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

Hardcover

9780861932689

August 2004

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Title Details

318 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

1 b/w illus.

Series: Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series

Series Vol. Number: 38

Imprint: Royal Historical Society