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12. The Glorious Revolution in England: 1688 - 1689

Between 1688 and 1689, Parliament engineered the ouster of the legitimate male line of Stuart kings and imported a new Protestant king and queen:  William III and Mary II. 

Mary II was the Protestant daughter of James II from his first wife.  William was her husband. William of Orange was the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic and the primary opponent of the French Catholic king Louis XIV.

William managed to take a small fleet from the Netherlands to England and marched on London to the cheers of the crowds who welcomed him.

James II and his family fled London to seek refuge, once again, at the court of Louis XIV.  James II fled because he remembered the fate of his father, The ouster of James II and the victory of William and Mary was largely bloodless.

Parliament had engineered a change of government.  Parliament had proven its ultimate superiority to the king.  This was the Glorious Revolution.

The Glorious Revolution established the victory of Parliament over the King.  Various contested issues of power were resolved in favor of Parliament.  Parliament had to be convened regularly.  All new taxes had to be approved by Parliament.  The king and his family had to belong to the Anglican religion.  New political arrangements were made with Scotland.

Magna Carta

Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter), also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an Angevin charter originally issued in Latin in the year 1215. It was translated into vernacular French as early as 1219, and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions. The later versions excluded the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority that had been present in the 1215 charter. The charter first passed into law in 1225; the 1297 version, with the long title (originally in Latin) "The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest," still remains on the statute books of England and Wales.

The 1215 charter required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties and accept that his will was not arbitrary—for example by explicitly accepting that no "freeman" (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right that still exists.

Magna Carta was the first document forced onto a King of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded and directly influenced by the Charter of Liberties in 1100, in which King Henry I had specified particular areas wherein his powers would be limited.

Habeas Corpus Act

The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 is an Act of the Parliament of England (31 Cha. 2 c. 2) passed during the reign of King Charles II by what became known as the Habeas Corpus Parliament to define and strengthen the ancient prerogative writ of habeas corpus, a procedural device to force the courts to examine the lawfulness of a prisoner's detention.

The Act is often wrongly described as the origin of the writ of habeas corpus, which had existed in England for at least three centuries before. The Act of 1679 followed an earlier act of 1640, which established that the command of the King or the Privy Council was no answer to a petition of habeas corpus. Further Habeas Corpus Acts were passed by the British Parliament in 1803, 1804, 1816 and 1862, but it is the Act of 1679 which is remembered as one of the most important statutes in English constitutional history. Though amended, it remains on the statute book to this day.

Industrial Revolution in Great Britain

Between 1770 and 1850 the economy of England changed from mostly agricultural to mostly industrial
This was the result not of one key invention but of technological progress in different fields coming together
Its center is the development of factories (which hadn't really existed before this time), but they couldn't have developed without better transportation creating larger markets and better transportation couldn't have existed without the growth of the iron industry, which couldn't have grown without steam engines
Society had a hard time adjusting to the new economic system


by 1720 most iron in England was imported due to a shortage of charcoal for smelting
in 1709 Abraham Darby invented a way of smelting iron using coke (processed coal) instead of charcoal
the iron industry took off after 1760 since iron ore and coal were both very plentiful in England

The Steam Engine:

Newcomen Engine (about 1712) filled a cylinder with steam and then condensed it to draw the piston down.  1/2% efficient, but widely used to pump water out of coal mines.
Watt Engine (1774) had had a separate condenser, making the engine much more efficient
James Watt later added:
sun and planet gear converted reciprocating into rotary motion to power machines
automatic control mechanism
double-acting engine made for much smoother power
high pressure engines developed after 1800 were needed for transportation applications (the Watt engine was too heavy

Transportation Technology:

improved roads built in large numbers 1750-1815 (about 1000 miles), reduced transportation costs 20-30%


The Duke of Bridgewater's Canal started in 1759--7 miles but had to cross a river valley.  People thought this was a wild dream, but built in 5 years.  Very profitable--halved the cost of coal in Manchester
canal building boom 1750-1800--by 1830 England had 3875 miles of navigable water (though only 1/3 of that was canals).  The Oxford canal paid a 30% return for 30 years.
provided much cheaper transportation of bulky goods


locomotives tried in coal mines first, but were generally too heavy for existing tracks used by horse-drawn cars
1825 Stockton and Darlington Railroad was first common carrier to use locomotives
in 1829 the Liverpool and Manchester had a contest to test locomotives.  Thousands of people came to watch.  Won by the Rocket designed by Robert Stephenson.

The Factory System:

the first big industry was cotton textile factories, though other kinds of factories developed as well
machines had been used some by workers who did piece work at home with spinning wheels and hand looms.  What brought the workers together into a factory was the invention of machines for spinning that could spin more than one thread at a time and then the application of water power first to spinning and then to weaving

James Hargreaves, Spinning Jenny , invented 1764-1770
Roger Arkwright, Water Frame , 1769
Samuel Crompton, Mule , 1774-1779
Edmund Cartwright, Power Loom, 1786-1788

    With these technologies the industry took off--by 1833 237,000 people were employed in cotton textile factories in England  this was a whole new way of life.

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