The Putney Debates (1647) – On the way to democracy and regicide

Historians often refer to these debates as a founding moment in the history of democracy in Britain and the wider world. At the time they were also directly linked to the Regicide which followed.

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In this Series

By the summer of 1647, Parliament had won the First Civil War. At the battles of Naseby and Langport, the New Model Army had crushed the Royalist field armies and the King himself was now their prisoner. But all was not well on the parliamentary side.

1647, Education, Key Questions, Oliver Cromwell, Series

John Wildman was one of most active members of the group of radical Levellers who argued for democratic, republican government in the Putney Debates of 1647.  He was one of the most enigmatic and fasinating figure whose life spanned two revolutions and a bewildering range of political alliances.

1647, Education, Key Questions, Oliver Cromwell, Series

Thomas Rainborowe was the romantic rallying point of the radicals during the debates.

1647, Education, Key Questions, Oliver Cromwell, Series

Henry Ireton was the eloquent spokesperson for the Grandees of the New Model Army who sided with his father-in-law Oliver Cromwell.

1647, Education, Key Questions, Oliver Cromwell, Series

Oliver Cromwell, who chaired most of the Putney Debates,  took a different approach to that of his son in law, Henry Ireton, who confronted the radicals head-on and tried to undermines their arguments.

1647, Education, Key Questions, Oliver Cromwell, Series

Edward Sexby, a comrade-in-arms of Oliver Cromwell who became his implacable enemy.

1647, Education, Key Questions, Oliver Cromwell, Series

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Contributor

Ted Vallance

Director of the Graduate School, University of Roehampton

Ted Vallance is Professor of History at the University of Roehampton. He is the author of four books, most recently Loyalty, Memory and Public Opinion in England, 1658-1727 (MUP, 2021). He is currently writing a new history of the trial and execution of Charles I.

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