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Republicanism

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 03 February 2000

Melvyn Bragg examines how English republicanism has developed from Cromwell to the present day. Before the French Revolution, before the American Declaration of Independence, before Rousseau, Thomas Paine and Marx there was the English Revolution. In 1649 England executed its King - Charles Stuart - and declared itself a republic.But was republicanism a reaction to the fact of the dead absolutist king, a pragmatic response to an absence of ruler as many historians have thought, or was there republicanism already embedded as a sentiment deep within the culture of England? And where is it now? From the marching out onto the scaffold in Whitehall of Charles I and the subsequent loss of his head, while England gained a republic - what has republicanism meant for Britain? With Dr Sarah Barber, lecturer in the Department of History, Lancaster University and author of Regicide and Republicanism: Politics and Ethics in the English Revolution 1646-1659; Andrew Roberts, historian, journalist, conservative thinker and author of Salisbury: Victorian Titan.

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