Additional Information Abstract This article explores the psychological impact and aftereffects of the English Civil War. Its main points of focus are the expressions of personal as well as collective trauma caused by this intestine conflict and the intersections between these two areas of experience.
It is hard for a teacher or student of the English Civil War in not to feel that Marxism is under siege with supplies running out. The big guns of the academic establishment thunder ceaselessly against it, and even articles in supposedly left-wing journals proclaim that Marxism is dead.
The big guns were, of course, lined up against Marxism, but they were horse-drawn artillery compared with the nuclear rearmament which has since taken place. Academic attitudes to Marxism were tolerant rather than vicious: In the s, the most vicious attacks on the Marxist interpretation of the Civil War by Hugh Trevor-Roper, as right-wing politically and as nasty personally as you could hope or fear to find nevertheless offered an alternative explanation in terms of social conflict, namely the struggle of the impoverished gentry against the overgrown Renaissance state.
But from the mids it became right-wing orthodoxy to deny that the Civil War was a class conflict at all. One is that it resulted from the growth of factions, based on personalities and personal connections, among the ruling class; the other is that war was precipitated in by local interests and local rivalries in particular provincial areas.
Both say a great deal about how, but nothing about why, such conflicts developed. The Marxist response to this retooling of conservative ideology has been inadequate in several ways.
First there is the actual shortage of Marxist contributions to the argument. Since Christopher Hill entered the field in with his essay, The English Revolution, part of a Communist Party education pamphlet, reissued separately in and still widely read and enjoyed by socialistshe has dominated it completely.
The other major influence on the Marxist orthodoxy of the last forty years has been R. Though Tawney did not see himself as a Marxist, he identified the English Civil War as a bourgeois revolution; but in his version the bourgeois revolution was made by and for the landed gentry.
It has shaped the development of right-wing history, in the concern to deny it, as well as the stagnation of Marxist history in the concern to defend it. It is only recently that Marxist history has begun to turn away from this obsession with the gentry and begun to focus again on the role of the masses and of radical movements such as the Diggers, Levellers and Ranters.
Yet there is, even in this area, an alarming absence of explicitly Marxist explanation.
Manning, for example, states his position on the nature of the class struggle in the Civil War in nine lines of his preface, and in a form which makes it almost impossible to recognise it as Marxist. Left-wing historians seem more concerned to establish their impartial use of evidence than to engage in the development of a Marxist understanding of the class struggle.
Both Marx and Engels suggested that the development of commodity production in agriculture in sixteenth-century England and the two-way social mobility between the gentry and the bourgeoisie made the gentry natural allies of the bourgeoisie in the revolution. According to Tawney, the gentry were a revolutionary social class in themselves: Their sources of wealth were the same — land, with an admixture of trade and office-holding.
In terms of power, noble and gentle landowners shared the ruling positions in provincial society, both had access to positions at court, and they even as Lords and Commons, both in opposition to Charles I in shared Parliament.
The gentry were, it seems, born and bred members of the existing ruling class under the Stuart monarchy. If a section of the ruling class could break the last bonds of feudalism on behalf of the bourgeoisie, could not a section of the bourgeoisie set up socialism on behalf of the working class?
The way out of this situation lies in a re-examination of the actual role of the gentry in the English Civil War — the very task at which the New Historians have been beavering away in the belief that they were destroying Marxism.
There is no doubt that the gentry did play the leading role in the preliminary crisis of In administration, justice, military and financial matters, early Stuart attempts at a more rational enforcement of central policy elicited die-hard opposition from the Justices of the Peace and their network of county gentry support.
Nor did they overcome this dislike of centralisation in the heat of revolution: Opposition to the centralised state is rather a strange role for a class credited with carrying out the historic tasks of the bourgeois revolution.CIVIL WAR BOOKS and AUTHORS is a non-fiction American Civil War book review journal, with commentary, publishing news, interviews, reading lists, and profiles of upcoming releases.
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The English Civil Wars, which were fought from were every bit as significant event in English History as the American Civil War was in the history of the United States. It is often said that the American Civil War was a fight of brother against brother.
Feb 17, · Seventeenth century diary writing. More Civil War and Revolution.
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Author by: Ian Description: This collection of essays examines the struggles of the people of England.
The Explosion of Women Writers. Posted on December 20, by Christopher Hager. Without these women, the feminist movement would have been little more than a whisper, especially during the Civil War era.
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