The religious origins of the glorious revolution

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The role religion played in causing the English Revolution of 1688 has been examined. The Catholicism of the heir apparent to the English throne, James, Duke of York, later James II, had a direct impact on the social, political, and religious life of a predominately Protestant, anti-Catholic England in the latter decades of the seventeenth century. James's religion and the prospect of his accession to the throne led to the development of two unsuccessful attempts in the 1670s and 1680s, the Exclusion Crisis and the Rye House Plot, to keep him from ever taking the throne.

Upon becoming king, James II's attempts to reestablish Catholicism as the dominant religion of the country alienated all the important institutions and segments of English society-—Parliament, the Anglican Church, the universities, the judiciary, local government, the aristocracy, and the gentry.

James II's actions, which were a consequence of his adherence to the Catholic religion and were directly responsible for his downfall in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, are explored in detail.