Glorious Revolution

The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England (James VII of Scotland and James II of Ireland) by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange). William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascending of the English throne as William III of England jointly with his wife Mary II of England.

King James's policies of religious tolerance after 1685 met with increasing opposition by members of leading political circles, who were troubled by the king's Catholicism and his close ties with France. The crisis facing the king came to a head in 1688, with the birth of the King's son, James Francis Edward Stuart, on 10 June (Julian calendar). This changed the existing line of succession by displacing the heir presumptive, his daughter Mary, a Protestant and the wife of William of Orange, with young James as heir apparent. The establishment of a Roman Catholic dynasty in the kingdoms now seemed likely. Some of the most influential leaders of the Tories united with members of the opposition Whigs and set out to resolve the crisis by inviting William of Orange to England, which the stadtholder, who feared an Anglo-French alliance, had indicated as a condition for a military intervention.

After consolidating political and financial support, William crossed the North Sea and English Channel with a large invasion fleet in November 1688, landing at Torbay. After only two minor clashes between the two opposing armies in England, and anti-Catholic riots in several towns, James's regime collapsed, largely because of a lack of resolve shown by the king. However, this was followed by the protracted Williamite War in Ireland and Dundee's rising in Scotland. In England's geographically-distant American colonies, the revolution led to the collapse of the Dominion of New England and the overthrow of the Province of Maryland's government. Following a defeat of his forces at the Battle of Reading on 9 December, James and his wife fled the nation; James, however, returned to London for a two-week period that culminated in his final departure for France on 23 December. By threatening to withdraw his troops, William in February 1689 convinced a newly chosen Convention Parliament to make him and his wife joint monarchs.

The Revolution permanently ended any chance of Catholicism becoming re-established in England. For British Catholics its effects were disastrous both socially and politically: Catholics were denied the right to vote and sit in the Westminster Parliament for over a century; they were also denied commissions in the army, and the monarch was forbidden to be Catholic or to marry a Catholic, a prohibition still in force. The Revolution led to limited toleration for nonconformist Protestants, although it would be some time before they had full political rights. It has been argued that James's overthrow began modern English parliamentary democracy: the Bill of Rights of 1689 has become one of the most important documents in the political history of Britain and never since has the monarch held absolute power.

Internationally, the Revolution was related to the War of the Grand Alliance on mainland Europe. It has been seen as the last successful invasion of England. It ended all attempts by England in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century to subdue the Dutch Republic by military force. However, the resulting economic integration and military co-operation between the English and Dutch Navies shifted the dominance in world trade from the Dutch Republic to England and later to Great Britain.

The expression "Glorious Revolution" was first used by John Hampden in late 1689, and is an expression that is still used by the British Parliament. The Glorious Revolution is also occasionally termed the Bloodless Revolution, albeit inaccurately. The English Civil War (also known as the Great Rebellion) was still within living memory for most of the major English participants in the events of 1688, and for them, in comparison to that war (or even the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685) the deaths in the conflict of 1688 were mercifully few.

Read more about Glorious RevolutionBackground, Conspiracy, The Collapse of James's Regime, William and Mary Made Joint Monarchs, Jacobite Uprisings, Anglo-Dutch Alliance, Revolution or Invasion?, Legacy

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