Restoration Period Literature Characteristics

Restoration Period in English History

The Restoration Period begins in 1660 A.D., the year in which King Charles-II was restored to the English Throne.

  • England, Scotland and Whales were united as Great Britain.
  • Commercial prosperity and global trade increased for Britain.
  • Literacy expanded to include the middle classes and even some of the poor.

The monarchical restoration was accompanied by the re-opening of English theatres (that were closed during Cromwell’s Puritan regime) and the restoration of the Church of England as the National Church.

Now sacraments by all civil and military offices were taken in the Anglicans Church and those who refused (Protestants and Roman Catholics) were not allowed to hold the public offices.

Charles had no legitimate heir. His brother James (a Catholic) was to ascend the throne after Charles. The Parliament tried to force Charles to exclude his brother from the line of succession.

Charles ended his “exclusion crisis” by dissolving the Parliament. Once crowned, James-II quickly suspended the Test Act (sacrament taken in Anglican Church) for he was a Catholic.

In 1688 A.D., James’ son was born that alarmed the county because they did not want another Catholic ruler. Secret plans were made to bring a Protestant Ruler. In 1688 A.D. (same year), William of Orange and his wife landed in England with a small army and seized power-an event known as the “Glorious/Bloodless Revolution”. James-II fled to France. There were two main parties in England at that time-

  • Tories- “Tory” is an Irish word meaning “Irish Rebel”. The Tory party included those who favoured monarchy and supported the king (Charles-II).
  • Whigs- “Whig” is a Scottish word meaning “cattle driver”. Whig party included those who opposed Charles-II and favoured Aristocratic succession for Monarchy.

Further Reading

  1. Development/Characteristics of Restoration Drama
  2. Development/Characteristics of Restoration Poetry
  3. Development/Characteristics of Restoration Prose