James II and the First Modern Revolution (Hardback)
The End of Absolute Monarchy
In February 1685, James II succeeded his brother Charles II on the English throne. His popularity had soared and fallen during his brother’s reign. During a period of less than forty years that had seen the execution of their father, Charles I, the proclamation of a republic, and restoration of the monarchy a few years later, nothing could be taken for granted, but the omens for a reign of stability seemed good.
However, James was a deeply flawed character who lacked his brother’s pragmatism. Obstinate, arrogant, alternately pious and debauched, he was little liked by most of those who knew him well. Within three years, his efforts to promote and advance Catholicism in a nation that had predominantly embraced the Protestant faith had alienated and exhausted the patience of his subjects, the aristocracy and the church, who jointly appealed to William, Prince of Orange, his nephew and son-in-law, to intervene and protect English liberties. James fled his kingdom, and the ‘Glorious Revolution’, was swiftly achieved largely without bloodshed.
This book examines how the forces of Anglicanism and Jacobitism collided, how a monarch came to forfeit so much goodwill so quickly, and through his own folly aided the effortless victory of the man and his wife, William and Mary (James’s own daughter), who replaced him on the throne and at last brought a period of calm to a country that had only recently endured civil war and years of upheaval.