This examination of over 325 newsbooks and pamphlets published during the two decades of the interregnum indicates that many people were not necessarily concerned about the events of the day for the reasons usually given by historians. Instead, they feared that God was going to punish them for killing Charles I. Parliament had erred in killing Charles. Signs of divine anger about the execution of His anointed were certainly legion: the weather was bad and getting worse (which was always an indication of God’s anger); the proliferation of celestial apparitions, monsters, Ranters, strange sects, religious charlatans, witches, seditious Catholics and peculiar Jews, whores and street rogues; alehouses, where crime and revolutionary talk dominated, were found behind every closed door. In short, the fabric of society was clearly dissolving. England’s disintegration might have continued indefinitely but for Charles II’s return to the throne to set things right. Of course, all this had already been predicted in ancient prophecy.


English People Modern Equivalent Recent Revolution Rational Grievance Strange Sect 
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  1. 1.
    Carlo M. Cipolla, Faith, Reason and the Plague in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany (New York: Norton Press, 1981).Google Scholar
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    See R. Po-Chia Hsia, The Myth of Ritual Murder: Jews and Magic in Reformation Germany (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988).Google Scholar
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    See, for instance, R. C. Richardson, The Debate on the English Revolution Revisited, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1989).Google Scholar
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    For instance, John Morrill, ed., Reactions to the English Civil War 1642–1649 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982).Google Scholar
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    As an example consider the excellent volume by Sandra L. Zimdars-Swartz, Encountering Mary: From La Salette to Medjugorje (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost: England Before the Industrial Age (New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1965).Google Scholar

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© Jerome Friedman 1993

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  • Jerome Friedman

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