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Restoration (to reintroduce – return of monarchy)

After Cromwell’s death and a period of political uncertainly a new Parliament recalled the legitimate heir of the Stuart dynasty from his exile, Charles II. The restoration was initially welcomed but the first concern of King Charles II was to reassert the predominance of the Church of England and also to dissolve Parliament. The first years of Restoration were marked by two tragic events: the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London.
The Stuart court brought back from France refined French tastes in fashion and manners: the theatres were reopened and old and new forms of entertainment were in great vogue. Christopher Wren.
James II, Charles II’ brother and successor was a Catholic, so he began to put Catholics in position of power.
This accelerated a secret plan to call William of Orange, the champion of Protestant in Europe: he landed in England with a small force and in only one year he ousted James II and was crowned king as William III: these events are usually called the Glorious or Bloodless Revolution.

William III introduced a series of laws: the Bill of Right, that established that the Crown would not be able to rule without Parliament; the Toleration Act that granted freedom of religion; the Act of Settlements that ensured that within the royal family only Protestants could be heirs of the throne.
James II’s daughter, Queen Anne was the ruler of Great Britain after the union of the English and Scottish Parliaments with the Act of Union. Great Britain in this period had entered the War of the Spanish Succession that ended with the Treaty of Utrecht.

Augustan Age and Coffee Houses

The first half of the 18th century is often referred to as the Augustan Age, this indicates its classical outlook modeled on Rome under the Emperor Augustus. The great Augustan artists shared a belief in reason, in the superiority of intelligence and good sense. These years saw a rapid developments in social life. Private and literary clubs were opened and coffee houses became the real centre of social life. Besides providing refreshments, such as tea or coffee, it soon became the best place for discussion and the circulation of ideas and news.

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