James II and the “Glorious Revolution” 1685-88 (Episode #168)

James II was Britain’s shortest-reigning monarch of the entire early modern age — yet his brief rule caused a dramatic rupture, which in turn opened the door to the transformation of the kingdom into the constitutional, commercial, imperial state that we know as modern Britain. Was it because of his Catholic faith? His resolute — or pig-headed — personality? His determination to rule absolutely, like his ally Louis XIV? Or, as some have argued, was James too far ahead of his time in his belief in freedom of conscience?

We consider the complex life and personality of the ill-fated king, as well as the class conflicts and ideological shifts that let to the so-called “Glorious Revolution” and the beginnings of the modern state.


Also see Imbalances of Power: Episodes on English Political Revolution and Evolution

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