What was the cause of the Glorious Revolution?

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martinjmurphy | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The Glorious Revolution refers to the bloodless overthrow in England of King James II and replacing him with William and Mary.  In 1685 King Charles II died and his brother James became King James II.  James II was openly Catholic and named many Roman Catholics to high posts in the government and the army.  Most hoped that Mary, a child from his first marriage and who was a Protestant, would become the new ruler once James II died.  But, in 1688, his second wife, who was Roman Catholic, gave birth to a son.  Because the male heir took precedence in the line of succession, it looked as if the Catholic son of James II would become the next king.  Many in Parliament feared the long succession of Catholic kings.  Rule by a long succession of Catholic Kings was also unacceptable to most English people.  After withdrawing support from James II, the English Parliament offered the English throne to Mary, the Protestant daughter of James II, and her Protestant husband, William of Orange, the ruler of the Netherlands.  In 1688 William landed in England with a large invasion force, and James II fled to France.  William and Mary were then named joint rulers of England.  This change in monarchs, which came without a shot being fired, became known as the Glorious Revolution.

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