In the popular view, the Civil War and Glorious Revolution of the seventeenth century heralded the “bourgeois revolution” of which Thatcherism has now proved the culmination. Political change – the triumph of the middle over the upper classes – inevitably followed the social and economic changes deriving from the growing importance of commerce and industry compared to the land.
But did it? In this fringe meeting, Professor Russell put the alternative view, that English society steadily gained those characteristics identified as “middle class” from the fourteenth century onwards.
Political revolution need not follow directly from social change. There never was any “bourgeois revolution”.