The Great Revolution / Bill of Rights

The Glorious Revolution was a revolution that happened between 1688 and 1689 in which King James II was overthrown from power William of Orange ascended to the throne of England. The Glorious Revolution is important because it produced the Bill of Rights of 1698, which made the Parliament the permanent ruling power of England and significantly reduced the monarchy’s power to interfere with and affect laws.

James II was disliked by many Parliamentarians and Protestants for being an overt Roman Catholic. James II issued a Declaration of Indulgence, which suspended laws that punished individuals for leaving the Church of England and granted religious freedom to different denominations of Christianity. This led Bishop Crompton along with other politicians to invite William of Orange to come to England and help address James II actions. William came with an army and, after James II fled to France for his safety, called for a Convention Parliament that determined that, by fleeing to France, James II had abdicated to the throne. In January 22, 1689, the Convention Parliament passed the Bill of Rights of 1689, which made William the King, and established Parliament as the permanent ruling power.

The Bill gives Parliament the power to suspend and execute laws, it makes the raising of an army without consent of Parliament illegal, it gives freedom of speech and debate within parliament and outlaws cruel and unusual punishment, and it also states that “[the] election of Parliament members ought to be free.”



Eveline Cruickshanks, British History in Perspective: The Glorious Revolution (New York: St. Martin’s Press, INC, 2000).

“Glorious Revolution” Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Last Accessed: January 10, 2016.

“English Bill of Rights 1698” The Avalon Project. Last Accessed: January 10, 2016.