Radical Pamphlets from the English Civil War

Introduction

 

During the English Civil War and in the republic which followed, a wide range of radical ideas and movements flourished. There were Seekers and Ranters, Diggers and Levellers, Quakers, Fifth Monarchists and Muggletonians; and a flood of remarkable pamphlets promoting their ideas poured from the printing presses. Christopher Hill's classic The World Turned Upside Down draws heavily on these in order to elucidate the nature and spread of radical ideas during the ferment of the English Civil War. The effective ending of censorship facilitated the production of a mass of cheap pamplets and leaflets, and the many different strains of radical thought all took advantage of this situation to promote their ideas. Hill cites dozens of these, not all of which we have been able to track down. Our selection of eighteen representative works should however give a taste of the diversity of this rich store of radicalism.

 

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