Date of Award


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Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




The name "Levellers" applies to a political organization which functioned as a potent force in the politics of England in the late 1640s. During this period a fierce struggle for power was being fought, partly on an ideological level. The fighting of the first civil war had ended in 1646; the army of Parliament had defeated the royalist forces and had captured the King. In the wake of military victory, the various factions among the victors began to vie for power. In 1645 and 1646 tracts supporting the establishment of a representative democracy, the guarantee of civil and religious freedoms, and the reform of the judicial system were written independently by John Lilburne, Richard Overton, and Williams Walwyn. With the circulation of the Petition of March, 1647, the organized efforts of the Levellers began. (The name "Levellers" was originally given to the party by its enemies, who accused members of having the communistic goal of levelling men's estates.

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