The Glorious Revolution

The Glorious Revolution
So far the commentary has introduced the two major motivations for the writing and publishing of the The True-Born Englishman; namely Defoe’s reaction to The Foreigners which led to his defence and support of King William III. This section on The Glorious Revolution will help to contextualise why Defoe reacted to The Foreigners and believed in and supported King William III. The Glorious Revolution is an obvious factor that contributed to Defoe’s political theory and therefore had an influence on The True-Born Englishman.

The Glorious Revolution took place in 1688 and it saw King James II overthrown, which led to the appointment of William III (Dutch Stadtholder (steward) of Orange-Nassau) as King of England. (see PART II, p41-line starting ‘The Great Successor’) The revolution took place because of growing antipathy to King James II’s policies on tolerating religion. King James II was Roman Catholic, so when his son James Edward Stuart Francis was born, it meant that his daughter Mary a Protestant married to William III was no longer due in succession to the throne. This meant that a Roman Catholic dynasty in England was imminent.

On the subject ‘Defoe was to be the enthusiastic propagandist, political theorist, and economic prophet of the Glorious Revolution and for its hero, William III’. [13] The reason The Glorious Revolution was important for Defoe is because he believed that ‘Dissenters should have gained more from it’. [14] As briefly mentioned Defoe was a self proclaimed dissenter: ‘one who dissents and separates himself from any specified church or religious communion, especially from that which is historically the national church’. [15] In Defoe’s case he was a Protestant dissenter who disliked the idea of a Roman Catholic ruler like King James II, so The Glorious Revolution with the appointment of William III was important to him, because William III was a Protestant. Tutchin challenged indirectly King William III’s right to reign in The Foreigners; this in principle therefore challenged in Defoe’s mind the The Glorious Revolution. As described, this Revolution was important to Defoe so his defence of King William III partly links to his belief in the benefits of The Glorious Revolution. (see PART II, p44-line starting ‘no doubt we had seen’)


[13] Novak, Maximillian E Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions. p.91
[14] ibid, p.91
[15] Oxford English Dictionary, ‘Dissenter.’ [Online] Available from: [Accessed 13/03/2014], definition b.

Leave a Comment