The Significance of Radical Thought and Attitudes in the Civil War Period

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The Significance of Radical Thought and Attitudes in the Civil War Period The Civil War caused turmoil and upheaval that affected every strand of life in England. It challenged and upturned the deeply ingrained feudal system with a Monarch as the head of all moral, spiritual and governmental life, and moved thought and order towards new democratic ideas and systems of rule. This period saw a new experimentation in ideas and attitudes among the population, which was not welcomed by many. As Christopher Hill writes "What was new in the 17 centaury was the idea that the world might be permanently turned upside down". In the wake of Charles's regicide there was a "popular mid-seventeenth-centaury…show more content…
As. Michel Lynch states: "It was the great issue that defined settlement", or peace in this case. One group challenging this were the "True Levellers" mockingly known as "Diggers:" With beliefs in equality, community and "true religion for all" they argued that land was "a common treasury" and lived in communes detached from society. The most famous commune was on St George's Hill, where common land was taken over by a group numbering around 50 led by Winstanly. Their ideas derived and supported from the Bible were radical in that they directly threatened the gentry and the landowners. As Michel Lynch states they ". were regarded as an intolerable affront to established rights of property referring to a lifestyle of "sexual promiscuity, heavy drinking and frequent blaspheming", usurping land laws and ownership. Reactions and accusations followed that they were "Drunk on the Bible", thus dramatising many aspects of Digger practice. Just how seriously they challenged established order was evident in violent clashes that culminated in their removal under Cromwell's orders Lynch further poses an interesting idea that "In an exact sense they were communists". He is suggesting that here may lie the original seeds that led to later Communism. That the first statue of Winstanly was erected in Russia after Lenin's consolidation of power shows the extent of their influence in later history and

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