Celebrate Burford Day!


(Admittedly a little late)- but let us recall and celebrate the first stirrings of popular democracy in England.  The Levellers were a movement amongst the ranks of the New Model Army and the populace who believed that the whole point of the English Revolution had to be an extension of the franchise to every adult male (although women were very active and vociferous in the movement too).  Such a radical platform was opposed by Cromwell and his allies, whose real agenda was not reform but the substitution of one ruling class for another- of one body of property owners for a slightly larger and slightly less wealthy interest group.

They had opposed the radicals at the Putney Debates in 1647 and at Burford in May 1649 they finally and decisively suppressed the Leveller party.  The ideas and the words survived, nonetheless:

“For really I think that the poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee; and therefore truly, Sir, I think itt clear, that every Man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own Consent to put himself under that Government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put Himself under.”

Thomas Rainborough

Leveller’s Day is celebrated in Burford this coming Saturday, May 20th.



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