Convention Parliament (1689)

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The English Convention (1689) was an assembly of the Parliament of England which transferred the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland from James II to William III and Mary II.

Parliament of England historic legislature of the Kingdom of England

The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England, existing from the early 13th century until 1707, when it united with the Parliament of Scotland to become the Parliament of Great Britain after the political union of England and Scotland created the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Kingdom of England Historic sovereign kingdom on the British Isles (927–1649; 1660–1707)

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Kingdom of Scotland Historic sovereign kingdom in the British Isles from the 9th century to 1707

The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England. It suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.

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Assemblies of 1688

Immediately following the Glorious Revolution, with King James II of England in flight and Prince William III of Orange nearing London, the Earl of Rochester summoned the Lords Temporal and Lords Spiritual to assemble, and they were joined by the privy councillors on 12 December 1688 to form a provisional government for England. James II returned to London on 16 December; by the 17th he was effectively a prisoner of William who arrived in London the next day. Subsequently, William allowed James to flee in safety, to avoid the ignominy of doing his uncle and father-in-law any immediate harm.

Glorious Revolution 17th Century British revolution

The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, refers to the November 1688 deposition and subsequent replacement of James II and VII as ruler of England, Scotland and Ireland by his daughter Mary and her Dutch husband William of Orange. The outcome of events in all three kingdoms and Europe, while the Revolution was quick and relatively bloodless, establishing the new regime took much longer and led to significant casualties. The term was first used by John Hampden in late 1689.

James II of England 17th-century King of England and Ireland, and of Scotland (as James VII)

James II and VII was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it also involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.

Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester English politician, diplomat, and writer

Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester, was an English statesman and writer. He was originally a supporter of James II but later supported the Glorious Revolution in 1688. He held high office under Queen Anne, who was his sister's daughter, but their frequent disagreements limited his influence.

William refused the crown as de facto king and instead called another assembly of peers on 21 December 1688. On 23 December James fled to France. On 26 December the peers were joined by the surviving members of Charles II's Oxford Parliament (from the previous reign), ignoring the MPs who were just elected to James's Loyal Parliament of 1685. The Earl of Nottingham proposed a conditional restoration of King James II, an idea supported by Archbishop Sancroft, but the proposal was rejected and instead the assembly asked William to summon a convention. [1]

In law and government, de facto describes practices that exist in reality, even if not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure, which refers to things that happen according to law. Unofficial customs that are widely accepted are sometimes called de facto standards.

Oxford Parliament (1681) an English Parliament assembled in the city of Oxford for one week from 21 March 1681 until 28 March 1681 during the reign of Charles II of England

The Oxford Parliament, also known as the Third Exclusion Parliament, was an English Parliament assembled in the city of Oxford for one week from 21 March 1681 until 28 March 1681 during the reign of Charles II of England.

Loyal Parliament English parliament of King James II

The Loyal Parliament was the only Parliament of England of King James II, in theory continuing from May 1685 to July 1687, but in practice sitting during 1685 only. It gained its name because at the outset most of its members were loyal to the new king. The Whigs, who had previously resisted James's inheriting the throne, were outnumbered both in the Commons and in the Lords.

Convention of 1689

The Convention Parliament met on 22 January 1689. The parliament spent much time arguing over whether James II was considered to have abdicated or abandoned the throne in some manner and who then should take the crown. The Whigs referred to theories of social contract and argued that William alone should now be king. [2] A few 'Radical' Whigs argued for a republic, but most Whigs argued for a limited monarchy. [3]

Social contract concept in political philosophy

In moral and political philosophy, the social contract is a theory or model that originated during the Age of Enlightenment and usually concerns the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order. The relation between natural and legal rights is often a topic of social contract theory. The term takes its name from The Social Contract, a 1762 book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau that discussed this concept. Although the antecedents of social contract theory are found in antiquity, in Greek and Stoic philosophy and Roman and Canon Law, the heyday of the social contract was the mid-17th to early 19th centuries, when it emerged as the leading doctrine of political legitimacy.

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch.

The Tories favoured the retention of James II, a regency, or William's wife, Mary, alone as queen. Archbishop Sancroft and loyalist bishops preferred that James II be conditionally restored. [4]

Mary II of England joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Mary II was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband and first cousin, King William III, from 1689 until her death; popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of William and Mary. Mary's father, James II and VII, was unpopular due to his Roman Catholicism and his attempts at rule by decree. He was deposed in the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the English Bill of Rights and the instalment of the Protestants William and Mary as king and queen regnant.

On 29 January, it was resolved that England was a Protestant kingdom and only a Protestant could be king, thus disinheriting a Catholic claimant. [5] James was a Roman Catholic.

By the beginning of February, the Commons agreed on the descriptor "abdicated" and that the throne was vacant, but the Lords rejected abdicated as the term was unknown in common law and indicated that even if the throne was vacant, it should automatically pass to the next in line, which implied it was to be Mary. [6]

However, on 6 February the Lords capitulated, primarily since it became apparent that neither Mary nor Anne would agree to rule in place of William. [7] As a compromise, the Lords proposed that William III and Mary II should both take the throne, which the Commons agreed if William alone held regal power.

The parliament drew up a Declaration of Right to address abuses of government under James II and to secure the religion and liberties of Protestants, which was finalised on 12 February.

On 13 February, William and Mary were proclaimed King and Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland. The acceptance of the Crown was conditional not upon acceptance of the Declaration of Right but on the assumption that they rule according to law. [8] [9]

On 23 February 1689, King William III reconvened the Convention into a regular parliament [10] by dissolving it and summoning a new parliament, which regularised the acts of the Convention Parliament by passing the Crown and Parliament Recognition Act 1689.

Effect on Thirteen Colonies

The Convention Parliament of 1689 would be imitated in the Thirteen Colonies, and the use of such conventions as an "instrument of transition" became more acceptable and more often used by the Colonies, resulting most notably in the 1787 Constitutional Convention which drew up the United States Constitution. [11]

Acts of the Parliament

See also

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The Bill of Rights, also known as the English Bill of Rights, is an Act of the Parliament of England that sets out certain basic civil rights and clarifies who would be next to inherit the Crown. It received the Royal Assent on 16 December 1689 and is a restatement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William III and Mary II in February 1689, inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. The Bill of Rights lays down limits on the powers of the monarch and sets out the rights of Parliament, including the requirement for regular parliaments, free elections, and freedom of speech in Parliament. It sets out certain rights of individuals including the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and reestablished the right of Protestants to have arms for their defence within the rule of law. It also includes no right of taxation without Parliament’s agreement. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights described and condemned several misdeeds of James II of England.

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References

Sources

Citations

  1. Harris 2006 pp.312–313
  2. Harris 2006 p. 314
  3. Harris 2006 p. 317
  4. Harris 2006 p. 319
  5. Fritze, Ronald H. & Robison, William B. Historical dictionary of Stuart England, 1603–1689 Greenwood Press (1996) p. 126 entry on Convention Parliament (1689)
  6. Harris 2006 p. 327
  7. Hoppit, Julian A Land of Liberty?, England 1689–1727 Oxford University Press (2000) p. 20
  8. Bogdanor, Vernon (1997). The Monarchy and the Constitution. Oxford University Press. pp. 5–6.
  9. Harris 2006 p.347
  10. Horwitz, Henry (1977). Parliament, Policy, and Politics in the reign of William III. Manchester University Press. p. 17.
  11. Caplan, Russell L (1988). Constitutional Brinksmanship: Amending the Constitution by National Convention. Oxford University Press. pp. 6–40.