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8 Eng Rev - The English Revolution After a parliamentary...

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The English Revolution After a parliamentary army defeated the royalist cause in England’s bitter civil war (1642-46), intense debate broke out among the victors over what kind of country England should be. The first source, An Agreement of the People , was a kind of manifesto produced in October 1647 by the Levellers, a faction that favored male equality before the law, equal votes, and religious freedom. The second source is part of the transcript of the second day of an open debate at the headquarters of the victorious parliamentary army at Putney (now part of London). The army voted to accept a modified version of the Agreement , but after a second civil war against the king (1648-49) more conservative forces gradually triumphed. An Agreement of the People, for a firm and present Peace, upon grounds of Common- Right (October 22, 1647) Having by our late labours and hazards made it appear to the world at how high a rate we value our just freedom, and God having so far owned our cause as to deliver the enemies thereof into our hands, we do now hold ourselves bound in mutual duty to each other to take the best care we can for the future to avoid both the danger of returning into a slavish condition and the chargeable remedy of another war; for, as it cannot be imagined that so many of our countrymen would have opposed us in this quarrel if they had understood their own good, so may we safely promise to ourselves that, when our common rights and liberties shall be cleared, their endeavours will be disappointed that seek to make themselves our masters. Since, therefore, our former oppressions and scarce-yet-ended troubles have been occasioned, either by want of frequent national meetings in Council, or by rendering those meetings ineffectual, we are fully agreed and resolved to provide that hereafter our representatives be neither left to an uncertainty for the time nor made useless to the ends for which they are intended. In order whereunto we declare: — I. That the people of England, being at this day very unequally distributed by Counties, Cities, and Boroughs for the election of their deputies in Parliament, ought to be more indifferently proportioned according to the number of the inhabitants; the circumstances whereof for number, place, and manner are to be set down before the end of this present Parliament. II. That, to prevent the many inconveniences apparently arising from the long continuance of the same persons in authority, this present Parliament be dissolved upon the last day of September which shall be in the year of our Lord 1648 III. 1
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That the people do, of course, choose themselves a Parliament once in two years, viz. upon the first Thursday in every 2d March, after the manner as shall be prescribed before the end of this Parliament, to begin to sit upon the first Thursday in April following, at Westminster or such other place as shall be appointed from time to time by the preceding Representatives, and to continue till the last day of September then next ensuing, and no longer.
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