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Some Potential Dissertation Fields

  1. Did crowd activity in London do more to help or undermine Parliament's position between 1640 and 1642?
  2. Why was lower class activity in London and the provinces a significant factor in politics between 1640 and 1642?
  3. Account for the spread of sectarian groups in the 1640s, and for the opposition they encountered.
  4. Why were millenarian ideas so pervasive in the 1640s and early 1650s?
  5. How far did the sectarians of the 1640s possess common characteristics?
  6. Is it possible to identify any central core of Ranter ideas and attitudes?
  7. How do you account for the virulence of anti-clericalism in the 1640s and 1650s?
  8. 'In the last analysis they were social reformers rather than political revolutionaries'. Is this a fair verdict on the Levellers?
  9. What do the Putney Debates reveal about the Army radicals and their opponents?
  10. Are you convinced by the view of the Levellers on franchise reform as expressed by MacPherson in his Political Origins of Possessive Individualism?
  11. Discuss the composition, aims and behaviour of London crowds in the poltiical crisis of 1640-42.
  12. How far and why did the balance shift between secular and religious themes in Gerrard Winstanley's writings?
  13. Analyse the arguments and assumptions of Winstanley's The Law of Freedom.
  14. How much did the Fifth Monarchists have in common with the other social and religious radicals?
  15. Why did the Fifth Monarchy movement emerge from the general background of millenarianism in the 1640s and what was its appeal?
  16. How seriously did the Fifth Monarchists endanger the stability of the Cromwellian regime?
  17. Why were Quakers more successful than other groups in attracting and retaining converts in the 1650s?
  18. Were contemporaries right to see the Quakers as secular as much as religious radicals?
  19. 'Perpetually in the grip of situations which he could never dominate or control.' Is this a fair judgement of Cromwell?
  20. Did Cromwell have any positive ideas and objectives in the 1650s?
  21. How far can Cromwell’s objectives after 1649 be described as ‘healing and settling’ the nation?
  22. How far and why was radicalism among women in this period confined to the religious sphere?
  23. How far did radicals challenge conventional views of the Irish in this period?
  24. Why did the English Republic of 1649-60 fail to take root?

NOTE: These are only a few of the possible topics. It is best to develop a question of your own, and a wide range of source material is available through EEBO.