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James II and the First Modern Revolution (ePub)

The End of Absolute Monarchy

British History P&S History 17th Century Royal History

By John Van der Kiste
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 9.6 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399001410
eBook Released: 28th September 2021


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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.

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About John Van der Kiste

John Van der Kiste was born in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, but has lived in Devon since childhood. A former library assistant in public and college libraries, since 1981 he has written and published over seventy books, including historical and royal biographies covering the Stuart, Georgian and Victorian eras in Britain, and the ruling German, Austrian and Russian dynasties, including Queen Victoria’s ChildrenKaiser Wilhelm IIEmperor Francis JosephThe Romanovs: Alexander II and his familyThe end of the HabsburgsThe end of the German monarchyKings of the HellenesCrowns in a changing world; titles on contemporary rock and pop music, including biographies and studies of the work of Jeff Lynne and ELO, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Steve Winwood, Steeleye Span and Lindisfarne; and works on local history, true crime, fiction and plays.

He has reviewed books and records for national, local and independent publications and websites, contributed to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Guinness Rockopaedia, and was co-consultant for the BBC TV documentary The King, the Kaiser and the Tsar. His recreations include reading, music and painting.

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