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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

From the start of the English civil war, the parliamentarians were a fragmented coalition, held together by distrust of the king and a belief that parliament was entitled to lead action to remedy his government’s deficiencies. The driving motivations of parliamentarians were various, including the religious commitments of puritanism, legalistic thought about the ancient constitution, and more radical notions of republicanism or natural rights. Historians have disputed whether parliamentarianism had an inherent strand of radicalism—or radical potential—from the early 1640s, but radicalization certainly took place as the civil wars went on, alongside more ‘conservative’ reactions against the propaganda and wartime measures employed by parliament. Parliamentarian radicalism itself was varied in character, embracing the Levellers’ populism, parliamentary absolutism, and millenarian and providentialist ideas.

Keywords: parliamentarianism, puritanism, ancient constitution, republicanism, radicalism, radicalization, Levellers

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