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A Land of Liberty?: England 1689-1727 (New Oxford History of England)

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199251001
ISBN-10: 0199251002
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Editorial Reviews

Review

`Review from previous edition a very important contribution to the series'
Roger Hainsworth, The Adelaide Review

`Dr Hoppit explores fears and traumas incisively and expertly and makes it clearer than it perhaps has ever been made before why the positive developments prevailed and the worse fears ebbed away'
Roger Hainsworth, The Adelaide Review

`All students of this significant period will be in his debt for decades to come. Had it been put in my hands when I was studying this period as an undergraduate I would have gnawed on it like a famished wolf.'
Roger Hainsworth, The Adelaide Review

astute and intelligent.

`his exemplary book.'
Penelope J. Corfield, TLS

About the Author

Julian Hoppit is a Professor of British History, University College London.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Oxford History of England
  • Paperback: 602 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199251002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199251001
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.2 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,936,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Writes Professor Roger Hainsworth, formerly of Adelaide University, South Australia: Students of English history will welcome this new volume in the New Oxford History of England series.1689-1727 is a very significant period for the history of the British people and indeed it proved important to many European people also for this reason: during it Britain became a great power and in the process the growing hegemony of France over western Europe was first confronted, fought against and finally halted. More of this later. Dr. Hoppit, although his eye is undimmed by romantic illusions about past eras, has a positive tale to tell. He writes that in late seventeen and early eighteenth century England "political discord was contained and then undermined. Warfare was endured and survived. Britain's empire was extended and its value increased. Population began slowly to grow. Many towns flourished. Agriculture, industry and commerce all showed signs of expansion .... society was not stagnant, it was on the move." This favourable assessment might have astonished contemporaries both at home and abroad. They still perceived England as politically unstable, riven by party ("faction"), and menaced by the apparently unbridgeable dynastic dispute between the Jacobite supporters of the exiled James II and then of his son (the Old Pretender) and the Whig and Orange Tory supporters of William III, Anne and the Protestant Succession (the Hanoverians). Meanwhile the British state was menaced by growing poor rates, menacing numbers of unemployed, seemingly endless foreign wars, and a growing mountain of debt: all presided over by a government which appeared more powerful and uncheckable every year and was backed by that worst of all English nightmares: a permanent army. Dr.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I came into this book having loved the Oxford History of the United States series, being an American knowing only the basics of the history of England, and wanting to see if the Oxford History of England series is just as good as the U.S. set. I'm glad to say that this author is comparable to my favorites in the other series, as he has the same great balance between scholastic research on the subject and readability that allows the uninitiated (such as myself) to read through it, learn a lot and enjoy it.

It probably ought to embarrass me, but this book showed me just how much the U.S. Bill of Rights is descended from the mother country's laws. In public school here in America, the teachers made it sound like our Constitution and Bill of Rights came out of brand-new ideas that were floating around in the revolutionary minds of the late 1700s, but I've now been shown that the vast majority of the rights, liberties, representative government, limited authority, and love of such things thereof were imported directly from England almost a full century before the Americans broke away. The first hundred pages of this book do a remarkable job explaining these events.

Although this book was written like the best in the field, and a lot of the information was very interesting, I have to admit that I didn't have much interest in reading about the power struggles between Whigs and Tories at the time (which takes up approximately a third of the book)...this is entirely the fault of the subject matter, and none whatsoever of the author's.
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Format: Paperback
This well written and engaging book is a fine survey of English history between the Glorious Revolution and the accession of George I. This period covers a set of important changes; the emergence of the political system that characterized Britain until well into the 19th century, the dominance of England over Scotland and Ireland, the development of Britain as a major European power and Imperial power, and the considerable expansion of the British economy. Hoppit covers the period in a series of alternating narrative and thematic chapters.

The narrative chapters describe the basic political and diplomatic history with signficant analysis of structural developments in the English political system. These include the central role of Parliament in political life, the gradual expansion under the pressure of major international conflict of the state, and the development of an increaingly oligarchic political system based on a combination of paternalistic electoral politics and patronage. The success of this system is illustrated by the relatively uneventful installation of George I, a foreign and non-Anglican monarch.

The thematic chapers are nice discussions of a variety of a important areas, including demography, economics, religious life, intellectual history, and social history. The underlying theme is what might be somewhat anachronistically termed the modernization of English life. This is the gradual, though sometimes contentious, emergence of a more urbanized, economically expansive, socially differentiated, and relatively tolerant society with considerable intellectual dynamism. The social costs and benefits of these processes are discussed well.

Like all books in the New Oxford History of England, there is a very nice annotated bibliography.
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