The Putney Debates

The Putney Debates

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The dramatic debates at the heart of the English Revolution

In a series of debates with Oliver Cromwell in Civil War England of 1647, the Levellers argued for democracy for the first time in British history.
Evolving from Oliver Cromwell’s New Model army in Parliament’s struggle against King Charles I, the Levellers pushed for the removal of corruption in parliament, universal voting rights and religious toleration. This came to a head with the famous debates between the Levellers and Cromwell at St Mary’s church in Putney, London. Renowned human-rights lawyer and author Geoffrey Robertson argues for the relevance of the Levellers’ stand today, showing how they were the first Western radical democrats.