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The Causes of the "glorious" Revolution and Effects on the Colonies

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The Glorious Revolution in 1688 was a climax of events starting with the puritan-based rule of Oliver Cromwell during the 1650’s. Finally escalating, with the rise of William III of Orange and Mary II to English Regency. The Glorious Revolution had immediate and long-term impacts on the English Colonies, especially, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland.

After a period of religious and civil war in the late 1640’s, Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentary and Puritan Forces, executed King Charles I, rose to power over England, and established the Commonwealth of England. The commonwealth and Cromwell’s rule was short-lived. In 1653, Cromwell was made Protector, or dictator (Most historians argue that his rule was a dictatorship), for life, and the power of the Parliament was entirely small. With the support of the parliament and his army, he was able to rule until his death in 1658. Charles II was restored to king by Parliament in 1660. Cromwell’s rule may have been terse, but he left a lasting impression on the English Citizens, especially the Protestants and Puritans, which eventually led to the Glorious Revolution twenty years after his death. His commonwealth supported the ideas of a government with less power in the monarch and more in the hands of the Parliament. This is just one of the issues that the Bill of Rights, written in 1689, would later address after the Glorious Revolution.

Charles II spent most of his twenty-five-year reign reestablishing and strengthening the relationship between king and Parliament. Unfortunately, his brother James II, who succeeded him after Charles II’s death in 1685, tore down this relationship by taking controversial actions and making terrible decisions, preceding the Glorious Revolution. In an effort to tighten England’s control on its colonies, James II approved the proposal to create the Dominion of New England, which forced all the English colonies North of New Jersey and South of Massachusetts into one colony. Sir Edmund Andros was appointed governor of the dominion, and he levied taxes, enforced other harsh measures, and imprisoned those who resisted his cause. Back in England, James II was attempting to bring Catholicism back to the way it was before the Reformation and the formation of the Church of England. In 1687, He issued the Declaration of Indulgence, which allowed both Protestants and Catholics freedom of worship, and tried to repeal the Act of Uniformity and the Test Act. These actions brought on a unified opposition from the hitherto loyal Tories and Whigs, a parliamentary group in England. The threat of a Catholic prince, who could succeed to the throne, pushed the opposition into inviting the Dutch prince William III of Orange and his wife Mary II to come to England and take over the thrown. Thus, began the bloodless “Glorious” Revolution.

In December of 1688, Prince William arrived in England with his armed forces. King James II’s army had deserted him, and he had fled to France. The Parliament treated James’s fleeing as an abdication of the throne and the power of monarchy was transferred to a joint sovereign between

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