The reign of James I

When Elizabeth died Childless the Crown passed to James VI of Scotland who became James I of England. He believed in the divine right of the king and summoned Parliament only for asking money. He imposed laws against other religions in order to impose Anglicanism causing the reaction of the Catholics that tried to blow up Parliament on the 5th of November 1605 with the gunpowder plot. The attempt was stopped and the conspirators were arrested. To escape persecution, the Puritans, a religious group that believed only in the Bible, sailed to America and built the first English settlement in north America at Plymouth rock in Massachusetts.

The rise of the puritanism

In 1625 Charles I took the crown and wanted to rule as an absolute monarch without parliament.
During this period the conflict between Catholics and Protestants continued. In Charles's Parliament three-quarters of the lords were Puritans. The king manteined he could raise money without the Parliament but in 1628 he was forced to sing the Petition of rights a law which limited his power in several ways, for example, he could no longer raise taxes without the permission of parliament. The king reacted dissolving the parliament and from 1629 to 1640 he ruled as an absolute king but, when a rebellion broke out in Scotland he had to summon Parliament in order to find funds, this was know as the Short Parliament because it lasted only three weeks. In the same year he had to summon it again and this time it lasted until 1642 known as the Long Parliament.

The Civil War and the Commonwealth

In 1642 a Civil War was declared between the Royalists or Cavaliers, who supported the king, and the Roundheads led by Oliver Cromwell who supported parliament.
The king was defeated, imprisoned and brought to London in 1647 were the Rump Parliament voted for his execution that took place on the 30th of January 1649. The monarchy was abolished and Cromwell established the Commonwealth, a sort of republic of which Cromwell made himself Lord Protector until his death in 1658.

The restoration of the monarchy

After Cromwell death his son was unfit to govern and the monarchy was restored in 1660 with Charles II. The real power was hold by Parliament and two political parties were founded the Tories, the king's and landed gentry's faction, and the Whigs, the middle classes faction. During the reign of Charles II London was struck by the plague in 1665 that caused a hundred thousand deaths and the Great fire in 1666 which destroyed most of the city.

The Glorious Revolution

The son of Charles, James II was less successful in managing the relationship with the Parliament.

He wanted to restore the Catholic Church in a country mainly protestant as a consequence the two parties of the parliament joined their forces and ask James' daughter Mary to return from Holland with her Dutch husband, William of Orange, in order to take the crown. The bloodless replacement of the king came to be known as Glorious revolution. William was offered the throne in the Bill of Rights in 1689 that for the first time was creating a contract between the king and Parliament. In the same year the Toleration Act granted the freedom of worship to Protestants.

The Augustan Age

The Augustan age took is name from the first Roman Emperor Augustus, Whose reign was characterized by great political stability. There were wars: the war of the Austrian succession and the Seven Years' war but they were international rather than civil and didn't disturbed the growing of the nation. This period was also characterized by the spirit of the Enlightenment a philosophical movement that believed mainly in science and history. It began in England in the 17th century with philosophers like John Locke.
During the Augustan Age the middle classes expanded and included merchants, artisans and craftsmen. The middle classes began to frequent coffee houses that were meeting places were men mostly could discuss and find fresh news.
Literature in the Augustan Age
During the Augustan Age the most important literary event is the rise of the novel. However other tipes of prose writing flourished like the journalism, satire and the essay. A novel is a tale presenting a picture of real life. The development of the novel is probably due to the expansion of the reading public that wanted to see his own interests reflected in the story so that they could identify better with the characters. In the novel time and space are clear and characters have a name and a surname. The typical hero in the novel in practical, self-reliant, self-confident, endowed with common sense and balanced in his choices. Usually at the center of a novel there is a hero who goes trough a series of adventures to reach a final purpose for example survival or material success.

Daniel Defoe

Born in London in 1660 he had an adventurous life and saw six kings on the throne of England ( Charles II,James II,William of Orange,Anne,George I, George II) and wrote journalistic pieces for the periodical The Review. He also wrote is famous novel “The life and strange adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York,Mariner” and “Moll Flanders” a fictional autobiography of a prostitute.

Robinson Crusoe-The plot

The novel tell the story of a man who is shipwrecked off a desert island where he spends the next 28 years before being rescued.
In the first part, after a series of adventures, Crusoe finds himself in Brazil where he becomes owner of a plantation a occupation that brings him prosperity. On a travel to Africa in order to procure slaves he is shipwrecked on an island where he finds out to be the only survivor. In the second part Crusoe writes a journal about his life on the island and describes how he becomes master of the it. In this part he meets a savage and rescues him from a band of cannibals. The savage takes the name of Friday to remember the day he was saved and becomes the servant of Crusoe who teaches him his language and his culture. In the third part Crusoe is rescued and returns to England with Friday at his side and he. There he finds out his plantation has made him rich and the story end with Crusoe setting off for Brazil.

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