Historians of the English Civil War all agree that Puritanism had a role to play in its origins. Beyond this however agreement ceases. For some, particularly the Marxists, Puritanism was the ideology of the newly emergent middle classes or bourgeosie, as they are sometimes called. Puritan ideas, it is argued, complemented and encouraged the capitalist activities of ‘progressive’ gentry, merchants and artisans alike. On the assumption, again made by those most under the influence of Marxism, that the English Civil War was a ‘bourgeois revolution’ the Puritans are naturally to be found fighting against King Charles and his old-world followers. An alternative and widely held interpretation sees Puritanism as a religious fifth column within the Church of England, and one whose numbers dramatically increased during the first decades of the seventeenth century; by the early 1640s, with the collapse of the central government and its repressive system of church courts, the Puritans were thus able to take over at least in the religious sphere. These two schools of thought, the Marxist and the fifth-columnist, are best represented by the writings respectively of Dr. Christopher Hill and Professor William Haller.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Puritanism, Arminianism and Counter-Revolution
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number