The Levellers

Radical political thought in the English Revolution

By Rachel Foxley

The Levellers


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9660-0
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: December 2014
  • BIC Category: c 1500 onwards to present day, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History & Archaeology, European history
  • Series: Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain


The Leveller movement of the 1640s campaigned for religious toleration and a radical remaking of politics in post-civil war England. This book, the first full-length study of the Levellers for fifty years, offers a fresh analysis of the originality and character of Leveller thought. Challenging received ideas about the Levellers as social contract theorists and Leveller thought as a mere radicalisation of parliamentarian thought, Foxley shows that the Levellers' originality lay in their subtle and unexpected combination of different strands within parliamentarianism. The book takes full account of recent scholarship, and contributes to historical debates on the development of radical and republican politics in the civil war period, the nature of tolerationist thought, the significance of the Leveller movement and the extent of the Levellers' influence in the ranks of the New Model Army.


...the book should be of concern to all history students both of a left or right persuasion. Foxley's book should be seen as an important contribution to placing the Levellers in their proper revolutionary context.

This is an excellent book. Foxley's work will be required reading for those who wish to understand the importance, and radical influence, of Leveller thought and action during the English Civil Wars.


Introduction: Levellers and historians
1. Consent and the origins of government
2. The appeal to the people
3. The laws of England and the 'free-born Englishman'
4. Religion, politics and conscience
5. Levellers and the army: England's freedom, soldiers' rights
6. Levellers into republicans?


Rachel Foxley is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Reading

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