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The politics of providentialism in England c1640-1660.

Browell, Geoffrey Charles (2000) The politics of providentialism in England c1640-1660. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86169) (KAR id:86169)


This thesis seeks to show that providentialism was an indispensable constituent of political decision-making during the English civil war and Interregnum. Providentialism exerted both a broad. underlying influence to console. reassure and motivate, and also displayed a more specific, narrowly-defined, but potentially radical aspect as statesmen and soldiers acted upon their often divergent readings of God's purposes. Honouring providence became public policy for royalists and parliamentarians alike and under Cromwell was a primary function of the State and a measure of the success of reformation. However, while providence helped shape events, it was itself shaped by circumstances. Comprising a richly textured language that invited contemporaries to explore a variety of possible meanings to current events, during the 1650s this plurality inhibited the construction of a viable constitutional settlement and probably therefore increased the likelihood of Restoration. The thesis explains how providence refracted and informed local and national politics and military decision-making in many different ways- injecting the passion that helped sustain hostilities and inhibiting compromýise by making the war one fought for the highest possible purpose- God's honour. It is argued that providentialism accentuated divisions within the royalist and parliamentarian camps, prolonging the war and hindering the conclusion of a lasting peace. The phenomenon of royalist providentialism is rescued from comparative obscurity in Chapters Two and Three, while the radicalising effect of the doctrine on the New Model Army, and the importance to the republic of the myth of divine intercession in its formation, are also considered in detail in Chapters Four and Five. The achievements of the Army were credited to God, and this legacy exerted a profound effect upon the policies of its beneficiaries, the Cromwellians, who sought, for example by means of the Ma . or Generals, to propagate this foundation-myth throughout the republic, with mixed results. It is suggested in Chapters Six and Seven, finally, that the failure of the revolution to live up to its early promise destroyed confidence that the republic was, indeed, sponsored by God- a shortcomings exploited by the royalists in 1660. The doctrine that had strengthened the collectiVe resolve of Parliament, the New Model Army and the republic, ultimately provided the occasion for bitter recnmination that it is argued hastened the demise of the republican expenment

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86169
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Uncontrolled keywords: English Civil War; Interregnum
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship. The Humanities
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
L Education > LA History of education
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:31 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2021 15:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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