Interpretations of England's Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689 fall into two categories. The first views the opposition to James II as a national movement—establishing English religious freedom and political liberty under the auspices of a parliamentary monarchy significantly different from the continental kingdoms in which absolutism held sway. The second posits an international conspiracy involving only a small minority of England's peerage and gentry and culminating in the invasion of William III, Dutch Stadtholder and eventual English king, who wanted to deploy British resources in the struggle against French power. Scholars have recently combined the two positions to form a composite interpretation. Pincus' 1688, however, sets out to overthrow almost every piece of this established picture and to substitute the interpretation emblazoned in his subtitle; 1688 was nothing less than “The First Modern Revolution.”

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