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date: 02 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the extent to which the Revolution contributed to long-term economic and social changes, bearing in mind that the changes that occurred might have causes other than the Revolution. It argues that the growth of trade and shipping and of the financial sector after 1660 owed much to developments between 1640 and 1660, particularly the Navigation Act and increased government borrowing. While a new form of wealth appeared (the ‘moneyed interest’) this did not significantly affect the structure of society or the distribution of power; the landed nobility remained socially and politically dominant. Society was changed more fundamentally by the legacy of political and religious divisions from the civil wars; encouraged by contested parliamentary elections and a partisan political press, popular politics became more extensive, and violent, than it had been before 1640.

Keywords: public borrowing, elections, financial sector, Navigation Act, nobility, popular politics

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