What are some different opinions about referring to the events of 1688-89 as "The Glorious Revolution?"

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In most views of history, the Glorious Revolution is glorious because it moved England towards a constitutional monarchy and because it came about with relatively little violence.  This revolution was glorious because, in contrast to most revolutions, it did not involve a lot of people getting killed.  The English Parliament invited William of Orange and his wife, Mary (who was the daughter of King James II) to come and take the throne from James.  William and Mary came to England and were able to take the throne without really having to fight for it.  Since there was so little bloodshed, we can say that this revolution was glorious.

We can also say that the revolution was glorious because of its goals.  This was, in essence, a democratic revolution of sorts.  The English Parliament did invite William and Mary to be monarchs, but it required them to agree to a set of conditions that gave Parliament more power.  This helped make England much more democratic, giving it more of a constitutional monarchy and less of an absolute monarchy.  Since we generally approve of this change, we say this revolution was glorious.

But it is possible to say that the revolution was really not glorious.  The main reason for this is that a major reason for this revolution was religious intolerance.  A major reason that James II was so unpopular was the fact that he was Catholic and that he had recently had a son with his Catholic second wife.  This made it look as if England was going to become a Catholic country.  Many English hated this idea and the revolution was inspired in part by their desire to rid their country of a Catholic dynasty.

Thus, we can say that this was a glorious revolution because it was relatively bloodless and fairly democratic, but we can also argue that it was less than glorious because it came about in part because of religious intolerance.  

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