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The 17th CENTURY ENGLAND

The Civil War of the 17th century represents the most violentphase of the English Bourgeois Revolution which broke out almost 150 yearsearlier than the French Revolution.The actual power in England passed from the hands of the kingand the feudal aristocracy into those of the English bourgeoisie as a re-sult of this struggle.

The English bourgeois revolutionaries proclaimed the sovereignty of thepeople in 1649.This fact could help them to establish firmly their power.They preferred,however, "property" to "liberty" and this made them to losegradually their position.They were alarmed at the social demands of themasses,especially at the social and economic demands of the Diggers.Theywere finally obliged to compromise.Thus Charles II (Stuart) was invited tocome back from France and was restored as British sovereign in 1660.After these events were over the radical revolutionary tradition in Englandremained passive until it was aroused by the American and French Revolutionsand the ideas of Thomas Paine and Jefferson s Declaration.

PHILOSOPHY

The 17th century enriched philosophy and science.It brought criticismof the accepted religious beliefs.We must mention at least Francis Bacon,who was a brilliant intellectual mind of this period.He fought against scholasticdogmatism and became the founder of philosophical materialism.He devoted his work to the search for scientific truth.Even more progressive ideas were introduced by Thomas Hobbes,whoapplied a materialist philosophical conception to the analysis of the state andsociety.John Locke,tried to develop a materialist theory of the universe and hiswork left a strong impact on the 18th century.The American colonists werestrongly influenced by his ideas of equality and freedom.

John Milton

He lived his books and wrote himself into them.His own life was not event-ful, but the times were, and of those times Milton made himself intensely a part.Hebecame a publicist, and his written work was journalism of a kind-i.e.,an attemptto give the largest number of persons certain conviction about public affairs.Hewrote tracts on divorce and on the reformation of the Church.One of the noblest of his tracts is Areopagitica-a Speech of Mr John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc'd Printing,to the Parliament of England,1644.He was a bilingual writer-he wrote both in Englishand in Latin.Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes are considered to be hisgreatest poems.His poems are important as marking the return of sonnet,reinspiredfrom the Italian original to English literature.

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