The Anglo-Dutch Moment

The tercentenary celebrations of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688–91 prompted much new research on the subject. In 1988 and 1989 there were conferences, symposia, and exhibitions in Britain, the Netherlands and the United States. This is the first large-scale publication to emerge from the  commemoration, and the first to attempt to bring together the main strands of the new research and writing for the general reader. It places the English Revolution of 1688–89 for the first time in its full British, European and American setting, and shows the new avenues of thought about the Revolutionary process of 1688–91.


The key debating point is whether the events of 1688 constitute a full scale foreign invasion of the British Isles. In that year, William of Orange came from Holland to take the English throne with more than 21,000 men, and a fleet twice the size of the Spanish Armada. Jonathan Israel’s ( book shows just how big the invasion force was, both in terms of the size of the fleet and the number of men and how sophisticated it was. At the same time, the invasion force was full of  English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish exiles. There was also a huge amount of financial support from Britain. Something larger than the annual revenue of the Crown was given to William from inside Britain to support his invasion. Also, William himself had both an English wife and an English mother, and hence deep connections to England.


Perhaps rather than seeing it as an invasion, it makes more sense to see it as part of a revolutionary movement from below, from within Britain. It can help here to forget our modern day notions of the boundaries of the nation state, and accept that social and political movements in the 17th and 18th were truly international. There was critical support from outside Britain, but that support was part of a negotiated process with people in Britain who wanted to overthrow the regime. These essays are all thought provoking and a joy to read.


Check if this splendid set of historical essays is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at



520 pages in Cambridge University Press

First published 2008

ISBN  978-0521544061



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Professor Jonathan I. Israel



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