Glorious Revolution or Dutch Invasion?

The Glorious Revolution took place in 1688 when Parliament requested for William of Orange from Holland to invade and take the throne from James II and he agreed. Parliament was “fed up with Catholic King James II and alarmed at the prospect of Catholic succession” since his wife became pregnant with an heir to the throne (Bragg). Parliament saw William of Orange as the true Protestant heir since he married King James II’s daughter. Parliament was unhappy with James’ decisions and removal of elected officials from positions in the military, government, and church.  James twisted the policy of toleration to favor tolerating Roman Catholics, whom Protestant Parliamentarians believed should be barred from holding government positions. Parliament feared the excessive amounts of European countries that favored Catholicism. Most of these countries also had absolutist government, and even though James did not want one Parliament believed that with Catholic toleration came absolutist government. Even though Parliament invited William of Orange over with a formal letter, most of the work was down by William himself.

Through the 1670s after his marriage to James’ daughter, William began influencing British politics. He did much of the leg work convincing Parliamentarians of his claim to the throne and his ability to make the country Protestant once more. Since he had a legitimate claim to the throne through his wife, speaking of his ascending did not count as treason. William knew of Parliament’s grievances throughout the past decades and upon taking the thrown listened and followed very closely to Parliament’s desires. He wrote a constitution that effectively gave Parliament more control than the monarch creating for the first time an official Parliamentary Monarchy. This action would continue on since the Glorious Revolution gave Parliament an event to use “as a lighting point against a [future] king who is seen as manipulating power” like James had (Bragg).

Parliament officially asked for William of Orange to come ascend the thrown but much of the convincing was done by William himself which begs the question: Did Parliament really revolt against their monarch or did William of Orange lead Dutch in invading the one country that could rarely be successfully conquered?

Melvyn Bragg, host, “The Glorious Revolution,” In Our Time (MP3 podcast), BBC, 19 April, 2001, 21 November, 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ioth/all.

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