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The Reformation actually occurred some time before the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, both of which occurred in the second half of the seventeenth century. The Reformation began with Martin Luther's protest against the Catholic Church in 1517. It spread throughout the continent, and formally took place in England when Henry VIII established the Church of England independent of the Catholic Church in the 1530s. The Reformation in Britain also saw the spread of Calvinism, which took root especially among merchants and other businessmen. It became a major factor in resisting the Stuart monarchs James I and Charles I, especially the latter, and Puritans were the leaders of the force that defeated and executed Charles I in the English Civil War.
The English Civil War led to several years of rule by Parliament, a situation that developed into a practical dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell. After his death, the Stuarts reclaimed the throne in the form of Charles II. This was known as the Restoration, and it witnessed a return to a powerful monarchy. This included acknowledging the Church of England, though Charles granted tolerance to Puritans and other Calvinist groups. He also sought to expand religious toleration to Catholics, a move that made him deeply unpopular among Protestants in the country. When his brother James II, a Catholic, took the throne, he continued and even intensified this policy, acting arbitrarily to undermine laws that discriminated against Catholics, and appointing Catholics to key government and university positions.
In 1688, James's wife Mary of Modena gave birth to a male heir, which would have established a Catholic line of succession on the throne. A group of political leaders thus conspired to put the Protestant William of Orange from Holland, a grandson of Charles II and the husband of James's Protestant daughter Mary, on the throne. William invaded, and with almost no bloodshed, forced James to flee to France. In 1689 the Parliament transferred power from James to William, who had to agree to a Declaration of Rights in order to become king. These events, which became known as the Glorious Revolution, situated power in the hands of a Protestant monarch, who acknowledged the legitimacy of parliamentary limits on his power.
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