Birth of Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, founder of the Whig Party and patron of John Locke

First elected to the Short Parliament as MP for Tewkesbury when only 18, Cooper sided with Charles I during the Civil War but switched sides in 1644 and served on the English Council of State under Oliver Cromwell. Following the collapse of the Protectorate, Cooper was part of the delegation which offered the crown to Charles II and held major posts, including Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Chancellor, during the early part of the new reign. In the turbulent politics of the Restoration, Shaftesbury found a distinctive voice – opposing Charles’ marriage to Catherine of Braganza and supporting moderation towards Protestant dissenters. He was a member of the Cabal Ministry but his growing opposition to the role of Charles’ Catholic brother James, Duke of York, later James II led to a break with the King. In a series of dramatic speeches, Shaftesbury argued that the monarchy derived its legitimacy by law and the will of the people and not by divine right or military rule. The result was dismissal from the Privy Council, a prosecution for high treason and a flight to Amsterdam, where he died in January 1683.