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Britain 1625-88

Radical political ideas, including the Levellers and the Diggers

QuestionAnswer
The Levellers Predominantly London based group that sought political economic and social reform. Developed as a result of economic distress from the civil war. John Lilburne was the leading figure.
Levellers ideas Attacked Kingly authority and kingship from the beginning of the movement in 1646. Wanted to replace kingship with a government dominated by a representative of the people.
Putney Debates 1647 Discussion between the New Model Army and Levellers their written constitution, the Agreement of the People, and particularly their ideas on the extension of the franchise.
Failure of the Levellers Arrest of leading Leveller Lilburne in March 1649. Levellers continued their propaganda war against the Rump and the army.
The Levellers' Third Agreement an attempt to inspire army mutiny but this response was limited and swiftly crushed by Cromwell at Burford in May 1649. The Rump had money to pay the army preventing unrest among the troops and limiting Leveller influence and the threat.
Reforms alienated Levellers - social reforms were being too limited - economic reforms being too limited - those without property were not included in the extension of the franchises plans
The Diggers A reaction to the Political upheavals from 1647-49 when discussing a settlement with Charles I. Led by Gerard Winstanley, the Diggers proposed solutions to social inequality outside London.
True Levellers Unlike the Levellers, the Diggers believed in total social and political equality and referred to themselves as the 'True Levellers'.
Failure of the Diggers The community collapsed due to hostility from those who owned the land nearby St George's Hill. Although they were existent around all of England they collapsed. Diggers led the path for future radicals.
Diggers central ideas Direct action- example of taking action in politics rather than preaching their ideas. Communism- Diggers provided an example of this ideology in action Liberation theology
Created by: Haribro