Justice, liberties and popular petitioning in 1648-49
The regicide of 1649 has often been presented by books, articles and TV dons as the result of religious beliefs related to the King’s role as a ‘Man of Blood’, whose own blood must be shed to deliver England from the taint of killing and the fear of God’s vengeance. However the evidence suggests a far more sophisticated political response rooted in the concepts of ‘Justice and Liberties’ displayed in both public and military petitions. ‘Justice’ signified what we would now call war crimes trials (and not just of the king), while the word ‘liberties’ was used at the time to describe far-reaching and permanent constitutional reforms. Norah Carlin will present her new research into this fascinating period, when not only the monarchy but the Parliament which had sat for the past eight years were confronted for their crimes.
Norah Carlin lectured in history at Middlesex Poly/University for her whole career, retiring in 2002 to her home town of Edinburgh. She is the author of The Causes of the English Civil War, published by Blackwell’s in 1999 , a number of journal articles on the Levellers, Cromwellian attitudes to Ireland and similar themes; and contributed a great diversity of articles over many years to International Socialism, Socialist Review and Socialist Worker.