Whigs

The Whig Revolutions

The Whigs as traditional rivals of the Tories were inspired by this new ideology and started the American Revolution with enthusiastic naval and military help by the French and considerable economic assistance from the Dutch which proved crucial. Inspired by their success the equivalent of the Whigs in France started the French Revolution which led to the execution of the king and the destruction of much of the power of the landed aristocracy and Catholic Church. Power to direct these revolutions was vested in bodies with ominous names, like Cromwell’s “Protectorate”. The American revolutionaries had their “Council for Safety” and the French revolutionaries their “Committee for Public Safety”. The Americans had seen themselves as champions of liberty and the sworn enemies of Tory-supported established religion and constitutional monarchy. Religion was separated from national government and Reason, in the form of utilitarian Science, was established in its place and eventually made compulsory through secular education.

In England, which had been through a less radical revolutionary overthrow, the Whigs changed their name to Liberals and alternated with reformed Tories, calling themselves Conservatives, in governing Britain during the Nineteenth Century. In France a counter revolution after the destruction caused internally by the Revolution and externally by Napoleon restored a reformed version of the religious monarchy. However the country has been politically unstable ever since the Revolution with two different Religious Monarchies, five Republics and two Empires. The Revolution in America, which was born out of an already democratic society in England, was less fanatical and not all Tory leaders were executed but were driven into Canada.

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