England on Edge: Crisis and Revolution 1640-1642

Paperback | October 18, 2007

byDavid Cressy

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England on Edge deals with the collapse of the government of Charles I, the disintegration of the Church of England, and the accompanying cultural panic that led to civil war. Focused on the years 1640 to 1642, it examines stresses and fractures in social, political, and religious culture, andthe emergence of an unrestrained popular press. Hundreds of people not normally seen in historical surveys make appearances here, in a drama much larger than the struggle of king and parliament. Historians commonly assert that royalists and parliamentarians parted company over issues of principle,constitutional scruples, and religious belief, but a more complex picture emerges from the environment of anxiety, mistrust, and fear. Rather than seeing England's revolutionary transformation as a product of the civil war, as has been common among historians, David Cressy finds the world turned upside down in the two years preceding the outbreak of hostilities. The humbling of Charles I, the erosion of the royal prerogative, andthe rise of an executive parliament were central features of the revolutionary drama of 1640-1642. The collapse of the Laudian ascendancy, the splintering of the established church, the rise of radical sectarianism, and the emergence of an Anglican resistance all took place in these two years beforethe beginnings of bloodshed. The world of public discourse became rapidly energized and expanded, in counterpoint with an exuberantly unfettered press and a deeply traumatized state. These linked processes, and the disruptive contradictions within them, made this a time of shaking and of prayer. England's elite encountered multiple transgressions, some more imagined than real, involving lay encroachments on the domain of the clergy, lowly intrusions into matters of state, thecity clashing with the court, the street with institutions of government, and women undermining the territories of men. The simultaneity, concatenation, and cumulative, compounding effect of these disturbances added to their ferocious intensity, and helped to bring down England's ancien regime. Thiswas the revolution before the Revolution, the revolution that led to civil war.

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England on Edge deals with the collapse of the government of Charles I, the disintegration of the Church of England, and the accompanying cultural panic that led to civil war. Focused on the years 1640 to 1642, it examines stresses and fractures in social, political, and religious culture, andthe emergence of an unrestrained popular pr...

David Cressy is a Professor of History at Ohio State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:462 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:October 18, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199237638

ISBN - 13:9780199237630

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Table of Contents

Part I: Caroline Distempers1. Crisis and Revolution2. The Pulse of the Kingdom: Distempers of the Times3. Life and Death amidst Distraction and Fears4. Insolencies of the Army: Soldiers and Civilians 1640-16425. The People's Fury, the Lambeth Disturbances, and the Insurrection of May 1640Part II: The Great Affairs of the Church6. The Laudian Ascendancy7. Laudian Authority Undermined8. Babylon is Fallen9. Parish Turmoils10. Swarms of Sectaries11. Conservative Reactions: The Laudians Fight BackPart III: The National Conversation12. The Press Overpressed13. News of High Distractions14. Discourse, Opinion, and the Making of a Revolutionary Culture15. Libels, Satire, and Derison16. The Social Order ThreatenedPart IV: The Onset of Civil War17. Tumults and Commotions18. Death's Harbinger: The Drift to Civil WarPostscript: Why the English Revolution MattersIndex

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`[a] fluent and fascinating book'Church Times