The First Whigs: The Politics of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-1683

The First Whigs: The Politics of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-1683

The First Whigs: The Politics of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-1683

The First Whigs: The Politics of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-1683

Excerpt

This book deals with the Exclusion crisis of 1678-83 and with the forces welded together by the first Earl of Shaftesbury into the powerful political party for which the term 'Whig' was first invented. This is a subject which has been almost neglected, and the word party is one which historians have been dissuaded, or intimidated, from using. When first beginning work on this subject I naturally employed the approach and the techniques used with such success in the study of eighteenth-century parliamentary politics by the late Sir Lewis Namier. But it soon appeared that, with the very different political conditions existing before 1688, such an approach had serious limitations; a different set of historical questions must be asked. Whether they are the right ones, and whether they have been answered, is for the reader to decide.

My acknowledgements are due to Miss B. Behrens, of Newnham, who confirmed my first impressions that there was scope for this study, and to Dr. J. H. Plumb who supervised my research at Cambridge. I shall always be indebted for his guidance; he is not, of course, responsible for any of my conclusions. Professor H. S. Offler gave invaluable advice when this study was first submitted for publication, and I am most grateful to Dr. W. E. Saxton for his help while this book was in the press.

For reasons of economy and to avoid repetition I have not cited general authorities such as Ralph and Echard for established facts, but have confined references to original sources, manuscript and printed. If the reader wants a bibliography of pamphlet material he will find it in the only other recent book on this subject, F. S. Ronalds , Attempted Whig Revolution of 1678-81 (Urbana, 1937).

October, 1960 . . .

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