Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Radicalism in the English Revolution 1640- 1660 F Dow.

“That an inequitable thing it is for one man to have thousands, and another want bread, and that the pleasure of God is, that all men should have enough, and not that one man should abound in this worlds good, spending it upon his lusts, and another man of far better deserts, not be worth two pence, and that it is no such difficulty as men make it to be, to alter the course of the world in this thing, and that a few diligent and valiant spirits may turn the world upside down, if they observe their seasons, and shall with life and courage ingage accordingly”.
William Walwyn

Given the speed that historiography of the English Revolution is moving it is sometimes wise to look at where we have been to find out where we are going. A review of F D Dow’s book would be a good place to start.Written over thirty years ago, Dow’s book was aimed at students and the public. Her book is of an excellent standard and in no way dumbs down her writing. In fact, given that her target audience was pre-degree students it is of a very high academic standard.

It is undeniable that there has been a resurgence of interest in the Levellers both in academic and non-academic publications. It is certainly easier to write on the Levellers today than when Dow wrote her book. Dow’s 1985 book was separated into five chapters with a preface but has no separate concluding chapter.

The Debate on the English Revolution

Chapter 1 begins with a Debate on the English Revolution. F D Dow makes clear that her little book is not a narrative of the events of the English civil war. The first chapter with limited space gives an excellent introduction to the level of radicalism in the English Revolution.

She is clear that the subject of her book has generated a lot of controversies. Outside of the Russian and French revolutions respectively no other revolution has created as much.
Her assessment of 1980s radical historiographies is precise and informative. Today’s readers should bear in mind that at the time of Dow’s book revisionist historians had been attacking any historian who sought to place the Levellers in their proper historical context. This had been going for decades.More specifically Dow believes that most of the revisionist’s fire had been against Marxist historiography especially any understanding of the importance of any long-term causes of the English civil war.

Even the use of the term radical to describe groups such as the Levellers had come under attack by historians as Glenn Burgess points out “it has been suggested - by Conal Condren and Jonathan Clark especially - that the term 'radicalism' should not be applied to phenomena that exist before the term itself was coined. Clark has pointed out that it refers "to a doctrine newly coined in England in the 1820s to describe a fusion of universal suffrage, Ricardian economics and programmatic atheism. To speak of an eighteenth - or a seventeenth-century radicalism is therefore as much of a solecism as to speak of an eighteenth- or a seventeenth-century fascism or Marxism”. His point is essential that in using the term to yoke together disparate phenomena with a common label, we create false or fictional histories and traditions. Condren suggests other objections. First, that 'radical' as a label risks miss-describing the language used by those so labeled. It attributes to them polemical and rhetorical strategies of subversion and opposition without considering whether such strategies were adopted. Secondly, the label risks miss-describing intentionality. Its application suggests an identity - that a person or group is knowingly and consciously 'radical' - whether appropriately or not[1]

It is hard to find Dow’s own historiographical preferences. Given that this book is aimed at students it is not surprising. But her own thoughts on the revolution and its original participants do get an airing. While not rejecting out of hand both the Marxist and conservative historians she does, however, posit what she calls a third-way argument on the radical groups.

She says “Hill’s picture of a radical plebeian culture cannot be ignored. The significance of his work and of other like-minded historians prompts the question: can radicalism be put into a new perspective which considers the convincing arguments of the conservative ‘revisionists’ but leaves room for the belief that there really was a ‘revolution’ in the 1640s and 1650s[2].
This argument anticipated by well over three decades the current position of the post- revisionist school of historiography.

Dow explains that the turn away from Marxist historiography brought about a plethora of other explanations as to why the radical groups were not really that radical.Conservative historians such as by A M Everitt and later John Morrill sought to examine social aspects of the revolution while playing down the influence of the extremists.

Studies such as The County Committee of Kent in the Civil War by A M Everitt and more famously John Morrill’s work on the Revolt of the Provinces emphasized short-term explanations. The rise of local studies does not necessary mean all the historians who adopted this approach had a right-wing agenda. David Underdown’s Riot, Rebel, and Rebellion are well worth a look at.

Other revisionist historians such as John Adamson limited the civil war to a struggle amongst the nobility not a class struggle in his Noble Revolt and his forthcoming Noble Realm. This has led to the muddying or an outright denial of class struggles in the English civil war.Despite agreeing with many conservative historians, Dow does not buy into the premise that there were no long-term causes of the revolution or for the rise of radicalism.

Dow leans on the work of Brain Manning who she says “forcefully argued that economic discontent and widespread unrest were essential elements in producing an atmosphere of crisis before and after 1640 ... that this eruption of the lower and middling orders into the political arena crucially affected the alignment of political groupings within the elite ... parliament’s appeal to the ‘middling sort of people’ was ... to release one of the most dynamic forces of the decade and substantially promote the cause of popular radicalism”[3].

Parliamentarians and Republicans

In Chapter Two Dow examines the philosophical basis for the Civil War. She explains that before the Civil War the English ruling elite was mostly content with the divine rule of kings. Society was in order and that God ordained everything.

Dow correctly spends some time on the philosophy James Harrington. The importance of Harrington is that his writings are a confirmation of the relationship between political thought and political action. Dow, however, downplays Harrington grasp of the relationship between property and power saying he was not a “proto-Marxist.” While this is true, he was a writer who anticipated a materialist understanding of social and political events
The Levellers

Chapter three Dow examines the complex issue of the Levellers. To what extent were the Levellers able to articulate the political and social needs of large sections of the population.
Dow believes that the Mournful Cries of Many Thousand Poor Tradesmen was a huge issue during the English revolution. “O Parliament men, and Soldiers! Necessity dissolves all Lawes and Government, and Hunger will break: through stone walls, Tender Mothers will sooner devoure You, then the Fruit of their owne wombe, and hunger regards no Swords nor Cannons. It may be some great oppressours intends tumults that they may escape in a croud, but your food may then be wanting as well as ours, and your Armes will bee hard diet. O hearke, hearke at our doores how out children cry Bread, bread, bread, and we now with bleeding hearts, cry, once more to you, pity, pity, an oppressed inslaved people: carry our cries in the large petition to the Parliament, and tell them if they be still &illegible; the Teares of the oppressed will wash away the foundations of their houses. Amen, Amen so be it”[4].

Whether social inequality was to most important factor in leading to revolution is a matter of conjecture. What is clear from Dow’s book is that the Levellers amongst other radical groups exploited this and they politically articulated the wants and needs of a large section of the population.

While how to fill, your belly became a significant social and political question there was also a questioning of people’s place in the grand scheme of things.

As the Marxist political writer, David North explains “Until the early seventeenth century, even educated people still generally accepted that the ultimate answers to all the mysteries of the universe and the problems of life were to be found in the Old Testament. But its unchallengeable authority had been slowly eroding, especially since the publication of Copernicus's De Revolutionibus in the year of his death in 1543, which dealt the death blow to the Ptolemaic conception of the universe and provided the essential point of departure for the future conquests of Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), Johann Kepler (1571-1630) and, of course, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Intellectually, if not yet socially, the liberation of man from the fetters of Medieval superstition and the political structures that rested upon it, was well under way. The discoveries in astronomy profoundly changed the general intellectual environment”[5].

It would be wrong of course to mechanically apply this type of reason to the thinking of parliamentary opposition to the King. People's thinking was mostly confused and not coherently thought out. As Dow mentions on (p15) “Four major issues were touched upon by these new writers, the nature, and location of sovereignty, the origins of government in the consent of the people, the welfare of the people as the end or purpose of government and the role of common people in resisting the king”. Dow attempts in this chapter to establish a link between the new philosophy and the actions of the Levellers revolution.

For Dow, the chief ideologues of the revolution were the radical groups such as the Levellers, Diggers, etc. She states on page 8 that “Ideological and organizational advances were made by rebels who were not matched until the 1760s. Although the Levellers did not achieve power and succeeded more in frightening those who did hold power than in convincing them of the merits of the original case., their beliefs and their program opened new vistas of political participation, religious toleration, and social equality. If not for all men, then at least for very significant sections of the middling classes”.

The Levellers per Dow were “founding fathers of the working-class movement.” Dow claimed the Levellers broke new ground.” They grounded their program of a new ideological basis by developing arguments based on doctrines of natural rights and popular sovereignty. And they mobilized support for their movement by employing sophisticated modern techniques of propaganda and organization”.

Dow’s assertion is tempered by AL Morton who said of the Levellers “it was a radical but not a working-class party: indeed, how could it be at a time when the working class as we know it was only beginning to exist? Still less was it a ‘socialist’ party in the sense of advocating the type of egalitarian and agrarian communism which was widespread now” and to add was not articulately expressed (until) Winstanley and his Diggers or ‘true Levellers’[6].

Dow admits it is difficult however to paint an exact picture of what constituted the Leveller party and it was as the Baptist Henry Dunne said a “very heterogeneous body”. It is to Dow’s credit she places the rise of the Levellers in a socio-economic context. “The social and economic preconditions for the rise of the movement like the Levellers had been created by long-term changes in landholding and in the manufacturing. Those changes which had adversely affected the status and prosperity of the urban and rural ‘middling sort’ of people were especially important in providing potential supporters for the Levellers, who were to become principally the spokesmen for the ‘industrious sort’. Pressure on the smaller peasant farmer who lacked the resources of his larger neighbour to benefit from the expanding market and rising prices: the discontent of the insecure copyholder subject to rack-renting and the fear of the small cottager or husbandman at the prospect of enclosure, produce dissatisfaction which the Levellers could tap and issues on which they could take a stand”.

Dow makes the strange assertion that the Levellers lacked strong leadership and in the end lost all effectiveness as a group. Dow makes the that some weaknesses of the Leveller program doomed them from their start: Leveller ideology may have frightened the rich, neglected the poor, and been "too innovative in its assumptions to embrace all the godly 'middling sort"' of people.

She believed that their social base was that of the small craftsmen and tradesmen, particularly in the towns, “whose independence seemed threatened by large-scale merchants and entrepreneurs. The existence of such problems in London was vital, to the capital was to provide the core of the Leveller movement. Here, a large pool of discontent existed among journeymen unable, because of changes in the structure of manufacturing to find the resources to set up as masters in their own right. Anger smolder among small tradesmen and merchants chafing at the alleged oppression of the guilds”.

Dow makes the point that the Levellers tapped into a growing hostility from people especially in London towards a deal with the monarchy. An outward display of this came about through the army at Putney. Dow makes a very perceptive point that “The radicalisation of sections of the rank and file did not happen solely, or even directly, because of Leveller influence, it happened because soldiers’ perception of their own ill-treatment at the hands of the Presbyterian majority produced a political consciousness on which the Levellers could capitalize”.

Dow crucially examines the nature of the society, or specifically sections of the society, from which the Leveller movement sprang. Several attempts have been made to explain a class background to the Leveller movement and the people whose support it attracted. While it is prudent to acknowledge David Underdown’s warning that "Class is a concept that can be applied to seventeenth-century English society only with the greatest possible caution."

Religious Radicals

I am not sure about the title of this chapter. The groups that Dow mentions are diverse and she is hard pressed to establish a common thread that unites them.

Dow is correct in saying that any study of the group would have to take into consideration the foremost authority on the subject being Capp’s 1972 study.  Capp placed the Fifth Monarchists in their broadest context being principally an urban movement and appealed to people below the gentry. In modern terms, this was a movement of the petty bourgeoisie and its lowest section. Many of the members of the Fifth Monarchists like other radical groups had a real fear that the civil war would reduce them to penury.

One right wing pamphlet at the time wrote of the Fifth Monarchy men “The scum and scouring of the country.... Deduct the weavers, tailors, brewers, cobblers, tinkers, carmen, draymen, broom-men and mat makers and then give me a list of the gentlemen. Their names may be writ in the text, within the compass of a single halfpenny.  Mercurius Elencticus (7-14 June I648), British Library, E447/ II, 226.

The Diggers and the Clubmen-A Radical Contrast

Dow’s last chapter is a bit of a theoretical muddle. The Diggers were the extreme left wing of the revolution. The Diggers were part of a group of men that sought to understand the profound political and social changes that were taking place at the beginning of the 17th century. They were the right ‘Ideologues of the revolution’ and had a capacity for abstract thought. While the Diggers were sympathetic to the poor, this stemmed from their religion they had no program to bring about social change; they never advocated a violent overturning of society. Their class outlook, that being of small producers, conditioned their ideology. At no stage did the Diggers or that matter did the larger group the Levellers constitute a mass movement. The contradiction between their concern for the poor and their position of representatives of the small property owners caused some tension. They had no opposition to private property and therefore they accepted that inequalities would always exist, they merely argued for a lot of the poor to be made more equitable.

The lumping of the Diggers in a chapter with the Clubmen seems to be a bit of an afterthought by Dow. Maybe her editor should have intervened to separate the two. The Clubmen were for a return to “ancient ways” and to describe them a radical is stretching it a little. It seems almost to be a concession to the conservative revisionists that she ends the book. The world was not turned upside down.


The book is an excellent introduction to the subject of Radicalism in the English Revolution. Dow’s work on the Levellers is equally important. Her conclusion is a little disappointing, to say the least. But I concur with A L Morton who said “A Party that held the centre of the stage for three of the most crucial years in our nation’s history, voiced the aspirations of the unprivileged masses, and could express with such force ideas that have been behind every great social advance since their time, cannot be regarded as wholly a failure or deserve to be completely forgotten”.

[1] Cromohs Virtual Seminars-A Matter of Context: 'Radicalism' and the English Revolution by
Glenn Burgess-http://www.fupress.net/public/journals/49/Seminar/burgess_radicalism.html#_ftn7
[2] Radicalism in the English Revolution, 1640-60 (Historical Association Studies) Paperback 18 Apr 1985-F.D. Dow
[3] Page 5
[4] The mournful Cries of many thousand Poor Tradesmen, who are ready to famish through decay of Trade.Or, the warning Tears of the Oppressed. (22 Jan 1648) http://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/leveller-tracts-9#9.21
[5] Equality, the Rights of Man, and the Birth of Socialism by David North-24 October 1996 http://intsse.com/wswspdf/en/articles/1996/10/lect-o24.pdf
[6] A. L. Morton Freedom in Arms: A Selection of Leveller Writings, Lawrence and Wishart, London 1975,

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Correspondence on Oliver Cromwell


I don't see how the profoundly Biblical Puritan English revolution can be made to fit a Marxist/materialist explanation.

You need to look at how the role of the Bible's teaching on social justice led to the revolution. Israel got its first king against God's will, so as to be like other nations. The Puritans knew that God did not sanction a monarchy.

Leviticus 25 is critical here.

Dear Mike.

At the moment your email does not warrant a long reply. What I will say is that I am not trying to fit a Marxist/Materialist viewpoint into the English Revolution. The point of Marxism is it is a method in which to understand the past, present and a guide to future action.

I do not subscribe to the view that the revolution was a chemically pure one. Marx never said it was. Also, I do not downplay the religious aspect to it, how can I. Its main protagonists were deeply imbued with it. However to say that God caused it or that he was on the side of the Roundheads is absurd. How do you explain that Charles 1 refused to accept parliaments and Cromwell’s authority because he was the sole interpreter of ‘Gods Will’?

To finish, I do not say that the role of the individual is unimportant at certain times it is critical. But the revolution was the product not of Gods will but powerful socio-economic changes that that were pulsing through Britain and come to think of it Europe at the time. Man makes history but not as freely as he would like.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Empire and Revolution: a socialist history of the First World War, Dave Sherry, Bookmarks. £7.99)

"In a strike, I am for my class, right or wrong; in a war, I am for my country, right or wrong". Ben Tillet, union leader

“You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”
― Leon Trotsky

Dave Sherry’s book is a reliable and well-written introduction to the complex history of the First World War. Written from the standpoint of the historical genre “history from below” its fourteen chapters cover all the most critical aspects of the war and subsequent revolutions.

Like many similar historical subjects, there is little agreement among historians as to the origins of the war to end all wars. Some right-wing historians have attempted to rehabilitate the First World War, as a “necessary” war for democracy.  As Sherry states “That is one of the reasons I wrote the book. There’s a truly myopic view of some British historians who see it as just a war on the Western Front”.

As the Marxist writer, Nick Beams contends “the question of its origin remains controversial. The reason is that this issue is of direct relevance for the analysis of contemporary events. Roughly speaking there are two contending positions—that of Marxism and various forms of bourgeois liberal scholarship. The Marxist analysis, to summarise it in the broadest terms, is that the war was the outcome of conflicts, rooted in an objective and irresolvable contradiction of the capitalist mode of production: that between the global character of the economy and the nation-state system in which the profit system is grounded. The opposing theories boil down to the conception that the war arose out of the political mistakes, miscalculations and misjudgements of various bourgeois politicians and it could somehow have been averted if only wiser heads had prevailed”[1].

The book does demolish some myths that have surrounded the events of 1914. One myth propagated by numerous historians is that the war fell from the sky that nobody could have foreseen the war and the carnage that followed. Another myth is that the war was solely German imperialisms greed for new markets and intent of world domination.

Sherry also draws the readers attention not only to the betrayals of the various parties such as the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), but to the strikes, occupations and mutinies across each country are well detailed. He also documents how these struggles were betrayed by their leadership.

Sherry correctly concentrates on the socialist movement's opposition to the war. In his book, War and the International Leon Trotsky makes two interrelated points. The first point is he relates the origins of the war to the historical development of capitalism. The second point is to outline the development of a strategy for the international working class in the face of the betrayals by the leaders of the Second International especially that of German Social Democracy (SPD). The SPDs repudiated the decisions of its own Congress to provide support for their own ruling elite’s support of the war.

For people such as the revisionist Edward Bernstein who propagated the fallacy that capitalism had somehow overcome its contradictions and would not plunge humanity into the abyss the war cruelly exposed this myopic judgement.

This breakdown was predicted I must add by Marx who said “In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure”.[2]

Leon Trotsky makes a similar point in his book, the War and the International “The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries. The whole globe, the land and the sea, the surface as well as the interior have become one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected.”
One of the strengths of Sherry’s book is that despite its short length he does explain that the war was a product of the growing inter-imperialist rivalries that had been simmering for the previous thirty years or so.

The proceeding thirty years before the First World War saw the emergence of Imperialism. A handful of industrialised capitalist nations dominated the world. At the head of these countries stood substantial corporate and banking conglomerates who were exporting capital on a global scale. These rival powers battled for the control of markets and sought even cheaper labour in Africa and Asia.

German capitalism sought to challenge Britain's strategic and geopolitical interests. To a degree previous to the outbreak of war conflicts between the major imperialist powers had been regulated by a series of alliances between the major imperialist powers in the form alliances which pitted the Triple Entente against the Triple Alliance.

As Leon Trotsky pointed out “The future development of world economy on the capitalistic basis means a ceaseless struggle for new and ever new fields of capitalist exploitation, which must be obtained from the same source, the earth. The economic rivalry under the banner of militarism is accompanied by robbery and destruction which violate the elementary principles of human economy. World production revolts not only against the confusion produced by national and state divisions but also against the capitalist economic organisation, which has now turned into barbarous disorganisation and chaos. The war of 1914 is the colossal breakdown in history of an economic system destroyed by its inherent contradictions.”[3]

Trotsky believed that war not only signalled the downfall of the nation-state, but it ended the historical role of capitalism. This analysis came under sustain attack from figures such as Woodrow Wilson who said this was not a breakdown of capitalism and hence no need for socialism.

Trotsky’s viewpoint was supported by Elie Halevy (1870-1937)[4] in a series of lectures published in 1938 as The Era of Tyrannies), Halévy said that world war “” had increased national control over individual activities and opened the way for de facto socialism. In opposition to those who saw socialism as the last step in the French Revolution, he saw it as a new organisation of constraint replacing those that the Revolution had destroyed”.

As was pointed out earlier by Nick Beams one of the historians that fall indirectly into the camp of bourgeois historians albeit on the right wing of this group is Niall Fergusson. Fergusson it would appear has spent most of working life seeking to overturn Marxist historiography. As Beams says “Ferguson adopts the crude method deployed by so many in the past. According to his view, for the analysis of Marxism to be valid, we must be able to show that political leaders made their decisions by a kind of profit-and-loss calculus of economic interests, or that there was a secret cabal of businessmen and financiers operating behind the scenes and pulling the strings of government. Failure to find either, he maintains, cuts the ground from under the feet of the Marxist argument”.

Ferguson believes he was smart when he wrote his attack on the fundamental Marxist conception that the war arose as an inevitable product of the capitalist mode of production—the struggle for markets, profits and resources. However, no matter how many books he writes he has proved nothing.

As Beams points out the “The point upon which Marxism insists is not that war is simply subjectively decided upon by the capitalist class but that, in the final analysis, it is the outcome of the objective logic and contradictions of the capitalist profit system, which work themselves out behind the backs of both politicians and businessmen. At a certain point, these contradictions create the conditions where political leaders feel they have no choice but to resort to war if they are to defend the interests of their respective states.

Beams also mentions another historian who takes issue with Marxism on the origins of the war, although from a slightly different perspective. The British historian Hew Strachan who according to Beam “ points to the crucial role of the alliance system is not only failing to prevent war but helping to promote it. When the crisis of July 1914 erupted, he writes, “each power, conscious in a self-absorbed way of its potential weakness, felt it was on its mettle, that its status as a great power would be forfeit if it failed to act.”

The book two has two significant weaknesses one is the significant omission of far more complete opposition to bourgeois historians attacks on fundamental Marxist conceptions.
Another thing I am not sure about is whether the genre of history from below is the best way to describe such complex questions or war, revolution and inter-imperialist rivalries.

Whether we will see a flood of-of patriotic nonsense written about the 20018 anniversary of the ending of the first world war remains to be seen. As Sherry points out the war was a clash of ruling classes which were the hell-bent in protecting their interests at the cost of millions of dead. Sherry’s book is an excellent basic introduction to these events.

Further reading
[1] War and the International (Colombo: Young Socialist Publications, 1971),
[2] “Imperialism and the National Idea,” in Lenin’s Struggle for a Revolutionary International (New York: Pathfinder Press), pp. 369-370.
[3] Leon Trotsky, “On the Question of Tendencies in the Development of the World Economy,” in The Ideas of Leon Trotsky, H. Tickten and M. Cox ed. (London: Porcupine Press, 1995), pp. 355-70.
[4] Trotsky, The First Five Years of the Communist International, vol. II, p. 306.

[1] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/10/lect-a10.html
[2]  K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1977, with some notes by R. Rojas. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/preface.htm
[3] The War and the International-https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1914/war/part1.htm
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89lie_Hal%C3%A9vy

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Comments From Christopher Thompson

I have just received these comments on my Essay Oliver Cromwell, the Levellers and the Putney Debates. While it is important to correct factual errors which I will do one does not have to agree with his more general summaries in the second part of the email. In fact, I will begin to reply to his assertions regarding Hill and Manning in particular shortly. I am publishing his remarks in full.

1) If you look at Past and Present (Number 88. August 1980), you will see, for example, that the Levellers did argue for manhood suffrage at the Putney debates. C.B.Macpherson's interpretation is based on a misreading of the text preserved amongst the Clarke Mss. There was no Digger group in existence in the autumn of 1647. I could continue with the errors of fact in this piece.

2) Many thanks for your e-mail. This would be a sizeable job. For example, you claim that the Levellers pioneered the use of petitioning, large-scale demonstrations, etc., as devices for exerting political pressure in the mid-1640s but, as Valerie Pearl showed back in 1961 in her book on London and the Puritan Revolution, these measures were first used in 1640-42 by Pym's Junto: John Adamson's recent book on The Noble Revolt leads to the same conclusion.

There were some elements within the Leveller movement but none, in the light of Rachel Foxley's work or that of Philip Baker that can justifiably be described as 'bourgeois.' Most academic historians, of whom I am one, do not accept or endorse a 'class explanation' of the struggles of the 1640s in England or the British Isles.

This is why figures like Christopher Hill (my old doctoral supervisor), Brian Manning, etc., are rarely cited in the literature nowadays. It would take me a significant amount of time to go through all of these matters in detail, but I will consider your request.

Christopher Thompson