England, Interrupted: The Interregnum and Restoration, 1650-1685 (Episode #100)

What happened to England in the power vacuum left in the wake of the execution of Charles I? Why were the Puritans, so pious in morals and strict in governance, unable to create a lasting Commonwealth? And why did the return of the monarchy unleash a wave of lewd hedonism that is shocking even more than three centuries later? The explosion of empire, the slave trade, religious toleration, the modern metropolis of London, and the enshrinement of theater as the English national art form, and the consitutional balance of power still in place in both Britain and the United States all have their roots in the tumultuous years from 1650 to 1685; if there is any period of English history that you must know in order to understand the present, it is this one.

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