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Gary Stuart De Krey
St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN 55057-1574)
Following the Levellers: Civil War English Radicals and their Successors, 1647-88

I will examine the Levellers of the 1640s in the broad context of seventeenth-century English religious and political protest. Sometimes considered the first modern democrats, the Leveller authors created an innovative body of libertarian ideas, including arguments for liberty of conscience, personal rights, and consensual government. Contrary to most previous scholarship, I will demonstrate that some Leveller ideas resurfaced after 1649 in periods of acute instability. I will thereby provide the first substantial re-integration of the history of the Levellers with that of their radical successors. I will also show that the Levellers and their successors found audiences among the sectarians of London's mushrooming suburbs and among tradesmen dissatisfied with the city's oligarchic constitution. My reappraisal will make the Levellers more accessible to students while challenging humanities scholars to reconsider their views about religion and early modern English protest.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
British History; History of Religion; Political Theory

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2014 – 8/31/2014