Although the Glorious Revolution was a bloodless coup in England, it had profound effects in colonial America. Some of the most influential English groups on American political thought were the Whigs and, later, the Radical or Real Whigs. The Whigs were a political faction in England that challenged the authoritarianism...
Although the Glorious Revolution was a bloodless coup in England, it had profound effects in colonial America. Some of the most influential English groups on American political thought were the Whigs and, later, the Radical or Real Whigs. The Whigs were a political faction in England that challenged the authoritarianism of the King and aristocrats in Parliament by boldly opposing any forms of arbitrary rule including the divine right of kings doctrine. To the Whigs, the Glorious Revolution represented the triumph of natural law as an almost absolute monarchy was replaced with a constitutional monarchy. They advocated a mixed government with a limited king, elements of an aristocracy, and inclusion of commoners. More than any other group, Whig thought brought all the elements of reform to the table as the Revolution approached, and, once the reign of James II was over, they wanted to run with the spirit of reform and see to it that a new political system came to fruition in English society.
Real Whig ideology found a receptive audience in the colonies where Americans were growing weary of imperial rule. In fact, as the Glorious Revolution was taking place in England, many Americans were caught up in the spirit of reform and participated in protests and mobs to challenge royal governors and bureaucrats in the colonies. Americans soon found the effectiveness of protesting as the Dominion of New England-- which was a forced conglomeration of New England colonies into one royal province where all legislative assemblies were abolished, preferential treatment was given to the Church of England, and even town meetings were banned--was dismantled in response to protests.
The ideas and actions of Real Whigs in England during and after the Glorious Revolution were embraced in America so much so that it provided a vocabulary for a new, and uniquely American, ideology that later became known as republicanism. Republicanism is not a simple, straightforward set of beliefs; the best way to understand it is to see the parallels between Real Whig ideology coming out of the Glorious Revolution and how the Founders described republicanism after the Constitution was drafted. American advocates of republicanism emphasized representative government, checks and balances, rule of law over inherited rights, and a mistrust of aristocratic governments. These notions were directly related to the Real Whig philosophy that helped ignite and win the Glorious Revolution and unintentionally sparked an American hunger for more freedom over colonial affairs and eventually a desire for complete independence.