Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Making Toleration and "The Glorious Revolution"

From Harvard University Press. Definitely a new view of James II and his efforts to promote the Declaration of Indulgence for religious toleration:

In the reign of James II, minority groups from across the religious spectrum, led by the Quaker William Penn, rallied together under the Catholic King James in an effort to bring religious toleration to England. Known as repealers, these reformers aimed to convince Parliament to repeal laws that penalized worshippers who failed to conform to the doctrines of the Church of England. Although the movement was destroyed by the Glorious Revolution, it profoundly influenced the post-revolutionary settlement, helping to develop the ideals of tolerance that would define the European Enlightenment.

Based on a rich array of newly discovered archival sources, Scott Sowerby’s groundbreaking history rescues the repealers from undeserved obscurity, telling the forgotten story of men and women who stood up for their beliefs at a formative moment in British history. By restoring the repealer movement to its rightful prominence, Making Toleration also overturns traditional interpretations of King James II’s reign and the origins of the Glorious Revolution. Though often depicted as a despot who sought to impose his own Catholic faith on a Protestant people, James is revealed as a man ahead of his time, a king who pressed for religious toleration at the expense of his throne. The Glorious Revolution, Sowerby finds, was not primarily a crisis provoked by political repression. It was, in fact, a conservative counter-revolution against the movement for enlightened reform that James himself encouraged and sustained.

Table of Contents

Note to Readers

1. Forming a Movement: James and the Repealers
2. Writing a New Magna Carta: The Ideology of Repeal
3. Fearing the Unknown: Anti-Popery and Its Limits
4. Taking Sides: The Three Questions Survey
5. Seizing Control: The Repealers in the Towns
6. Countering a Movement: The Seven Bishops Trial
7. Dividing a Nation: The Geography of Repeal
8. Dancing in a Ditch: Anti-Popery and the Revolution
9. Enacting Toleration: The Repealers and the Enlightenment

Appendix: A List of Repealer Publications
Manuscripts Consulted

This book, which I have ordered, should be an excellent rebuttal to works like Michael Barone's tedious and tendentious Our First Revolution, which somehow ignores the anti-Catholic legislation of the Glorious Revolution and the overturning of religious tolerance in Colonial Maryland while claiming that "the Revolutionary settlement was also a step forward for religious liberty". (Barone does add the caveat that the step forward did not include Catholics or Quakers, so it was a tiny step.) You might remember that I've mentioned William Penn's support of James II's toleration before and commented on the limited tolerance granted by the Glorious Revolution's Act of Toleration here.

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