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The Restoration Period

Charles II began his reign with the promise to pardon the participants of the revolution, but very soon forgot them. The Parliament he summoned mostly consisted of old and new Royalists. This Parliament helped Charles to restore the lands of the Crown and the Church. Puritans were persecuted; Cromwell's body was taken from Westminster Abbey and hung as a traitor's.

By Parliamentary acts all religious meetings except those of the Established Church were forbidden. These measures strengthened Anglicanism, but later caused the protest of English Catholics and Puritans.

The period of Charles IFs reign was connected with three wars with the Dutch colonies. The wars as well as Charles' constant need of money caused the tension between the King and Parliament. But this was only the beginning of trouble. Soon after the start of the second Dutch War, in 1666 the Great Plague — the Black Death came to England. It swept bigger and smaller cities, London was affected most of all. People tried to leave the capital, where houses were full of swollen dead bodies. More than 70,000 Londoners died.

When the plague was almost over, the Great Fire of London began in a baker's house. The flames burned in the centre of London for 4 days and 5 nights. It ruined tens of thousands of buildings but finally stopped the Great Plague.

These severe troubles undermined Charles' power, but the worst effect was made by the King's policy of religious toleration for the Catholics. Charles secretly agreed to restore Catholicism in England if the French King Louis XIV gave him enough money to dissolve the Parliament. This secret agreement was discovered by the Members of Parliament, who in 1679 formed an opposition party. This party opposed Catholicism and fought for the limitation of the Crown power and extending the power of Parliament. This party was called "the Whigs" (a rude Scottish word meaning Presbyterian rebels).

The remaining part of the Parliament united into the other party, which favoured the royal power and the Anglican Church. Later it got the name "Tory" (an Irish word, meaning a Roman Catholic outlaw). The Tories formed the court party, representing the interests of the wealthiest layers of the society. The Whigs as the country party represented the interests of the gentry, merchants and the London City financiers.

These parties developed as real political force in the 19th century and got the names the Conservative party (the Tories) and the Liberal party (the Whigs). In the 17"1 century, these parties were close to the events of the civil wars — the Tory party was mainly Cavalier, believing that the government should be appointed by the King, the Whigs were Protestants (Puritans) believing that King's power should be controlled by the House of Commons.

In 1679, Parliament passed Habeas Corpus Act, which aimed against despotic power of the King. Habeas Corpus means in Latin "You may have the body", this act stated the necessity of a trial to every arrested person. No one could be executed without a trial. This Act contributed greatly to the defending of the interests of an individual.

Task 3. Fill in the table representing two opposing parties that were formed in the 17th century. Trace their development in the following period.


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