The restoration of royal power in England, in 1660, came about not as a result of a political and military superiority of the knights-feudal against the bourgeoisie, but rather due to the strengthening of the conservative tendencies in the ranks of the British bourgeoisie, as well as in circles the new nobility, who were determined to protect the incredible wealth due to the revolution from the threat of the masses of the people were excluded from the distribution of land ownership.
For these classes in power it was not without significance that Charles II returned to England not as absolute monarch, but on agreed terms. In fact, with the declaration of Breda in April 1660 he promised an amnesty policy, freedom of religion and the recognition of property rights on goods purchased during the revolution. Just arrived in England also confirmed a number of important constitutional acts, such as the Magna Charta Libertatum, Petition of Rights and the articles on the exclusive right of the Parliament to ratify the tributes.
Not being able to have a standing army, if not insignificantly, deprived of Crown land, confiscated and sold at the time of the revolution, Charles II, from the financial point of view, depended completely on the Parliament, which was intended for the king and his court a specified sum.
However, Charles II, his brother and heir to the throne James, Duke of York, the Chancellor Clarendon and other riders soon proved their precise aims of the restoration of the political absolutist pre-revolutionary. Knowing that the new Parliament elected in 1661, after the dissolution of the one of 1660, was made by an absolute majority of riders, the government of Charles II broke immediately the declaration of Breda was completely rehabilitated the Anglican Church of State at the expense of Presbyterianism and the seven independent; and they were excluded from the amnesty promise all the "assassins of kings", including numbered were not only members of the court that had tried in 1649 Charles I, but also the Republican opposition on principle to the monarchy.
In January 1661 a group of Anabaptists English, under the leadership of Thomas Cooper Venner, began a revolt: after having suffocated, the government said beginning to systematic persecution of other religious communities democratic.
The government of the Restoration betrayed its promises to hold the property also relatively new landlords: a part of the land confiscated during the Revolution (including seals Cromwell), was handed back to their primitive masters, the Lord and the Church of England while the other remained to the new owners on condition that the latter partially damage the former masters.
The king, however, not recovered the possessions of the Stuarts, as the annual maintenance of the court was considered by Parliament as a form of compensation for the lands of the Crown. In 1660 the Knights were forced to approve the acts of the revolution on the withdrawal of their previous feudal possessions. On the other hand they, too, could now enjoy the benefits of the agrarian legislation of the Long Parliament and the protectorate of Cromwell, who had deprived the farmers of land, recognizing the only ones in the noble landowners, independent from the Crown and free from any provision of vassalage.
The condition of the peasants and tenants temporary, that the Lord could hunt from the ground at any time, was later specifically legalized by the Parliament of the Restoration in a new act of 1677, opening the way directly to the further expropriation peasantry even for the recovery of the fences. Many farmers turned into landless poor in laborers in manufacturing workers, or migrants in search of fortune overseas.
The mercantilist policy carried out by Cromwell in the 50's continued into the first few years of the restoration: a series of parliamentary acts of the 60's and 70's categorically forbade the export of raw materials (wool, leather, linen, various minerals and so on. ), but also the import of industrial products in the UK foreign cloth, canvas and lace. The Navigation Act of 1651 was applied more strictly.
In this period they were expanded the colonial possessions of England in America and India. Against the Netherlands he was taken two trade wars, in 1665-67 and in 1672-74, which resulted almost a continuation of the First Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-54 years.
In the 60's and 80's of the seventeenth century. England took a significant recovery of industry and foreign trade: this was due to the fact that, during the revolution, had been removed the main obstacles to the development of capitalism (the feudal character of landed property, commercial and industrial monopolies and corporations), but also the expansion of colonial possessions.
However, Stuart and their aristocratic circle were intended to govern without the Parliament, preferring to rely on the middle class rather than internal, on external forces (the French absolutist government of Louis XIV and the Catholic Church, to which they were considerably closer in the period of ' exile).
Thus he opened a new conflict between the Government of the restoration on the one hand and the bourgeoisie and gentry on the other.
In 1667 the Chancellor Clarendon was forced to resign: the failures in the war against the Netherlands, scandalous episodes of embezzlement and other judges in the Admiralty were leaning against the Chancellor, who had to return to the path of exile.
In foreign policy, the new government of Charles II was acting without regard to the Parliament, and indeed without even secretly communicate the contents of the agreements entered into with foreign powers. Eg in 1668 was concluded an alliance between three Protestant countries: England, the Netherlands and Sweden. But the following year the government entered into secret negotiations with the French king Louis XIV, which led to the signing in 1670 of an agreement under which the British government undertook to refrain from protectionist policy of national industry, to satisfy claims France on the problems of trade and encourage Anglo-French policy of conquest of Louis XIV in Europe.
For his part, Louis XIV to Charles II guaranteed the payment of a regular board and, in the event of unrest in England, promised to send an expeditionary force to quell the revolt. And so the English bourgeoisie now had to endure both the tariff increase French on English goods, both the penetration of French merchants in England and its colonies.
The consequences of this secret agreement were felt in 1672, when the British government suddenly declared war on its ally, the Netherlands. The turnaround was imposed by Louis XIV, who then fought against the Netherlands and threatening to complete destruction.
While Charles II issued the Declaration of Indulgence, which gave the right to the king of to prevent individuals to vote by Parliament of laws against "heterodox" (there was referring especially to the anti-Catholic laws). He wanted to bring the Catholics on the path to political equality than Anglicans. The King once again placed itself above the Constitution and arrogated the power to apply or not to apply any law according to his will.
The reactionary policy of the government provoked a harsh intervention of the parliamentary opposition in the following year, 1673, he claims that the approval of the Test Act, a sort of oath to comply Anglican ritual, to become mandatory for all those who entered the service of the State . It was thus denied access to the state administration to Catholics and Protestant dissenters. James Duke of York, who was Catholic, was forced under the Test Act to leave his post as a Lord of the Admiralty and get away even for a time from England.
In 1675 the parliamentary opposition intensified his attacks, especially from the new party called "Club of Green Ribbon", at whose head was the Earl of Shaftesbury, who had previously been minister of Charles II. In addition to a part of the aristocrats of opposition participated in the club also merchants and representatives of the gentry of London, poets, writers and journalists; the left wing of the club was made up of Republicans led by Algernon Sidney and some ex-Levellers.
The political struggle escalated particularly in 1679, when it demanded to deprive inheritance law the Duke of York, who led a reactionary clique of court. The opposition also demanded a change of course of foreign policy and the rupture of the alliance with France.
In response, Charles II decided to dissolve parliament, in operation for 18 years (1661-79), and of calling new elections. These were held in a very tense atmosphere, where the main battle was between two parties: the Democrats "Whigs" (a contraction of "Whiggamores" - teamsters - used in Scotland in respect of Presbyterians intransigent in the 40s of the XVII century.) , and the conservatives (government supporters), called "Tories" (Irish word meaning "thieves", the nickname given to the partisans as Irish Catholics who had fought in the 60's of the XVII century. against the English conquest of Ireland and its transformation into a British colony).
Although the latter party had used both the old parliamentary electoral system, which did not admit the proportional representative system, both the direct administrative pressure on voters in many counties, however, in the new Parliament found itself in the minority.
In May 1679 the new Parliament did pass an important law Habeas Corpus Act, to ensure especially the leaders of the opposition to illegal arrests. This Act specified the procedure of the arrest, claiming in particular that the mandate was signed by the judge, who was also obliged to require the submission of stopped in court for the verification of the legality of the arrest. The new law also prescribed a rapid development of the process and provided for the release of the arrested person on bail, on condition that poured a large sum of money. In doing so, however, clearly they favored the wealthy at the expense of the poor, especially those who had been thrown into debtors' prison (according to article 8 of the Act did not extend the action to debtors).
The Parliament of the Whigs was dissolved by the king in 1679. The same fate befell the two subsequent parliaments of 1680-81. This conduct of the king was motivated by the fact that he regularly received from Louis XIV of France large sums in the form of pensions and subsidies, because they performed a policy favorable to France. But the main cause is to be found in the uncertainty of the political line of the leaders of the opposition Whigs, in their disagreements and their cleavage in "Whigs-monarchist" and "Whigs-Republicans."
The last four years of the reign of Charles II spent in an atmosphere of strong reaction. Parliament was not summoned. The Whigs were divided and disorganized. Some of them (including the Earl of Shaftesbury) had to flee from England. Others (eg. Algernon Sidney) they paid with their heads.