Agreement of the People


Agreement of the People

The documents called the "Agreement of the People" were manifestos for constitutional changes to the English state issued between 1647 and 1649. Several different versions of the Agreement were published, each adapted to address not only broad concerns but also specific issues faced by the Levellers and their supporters during the fast changing revolutionary political environment of those years. The Agreements of the People have been most associated as the manifestos of the Levellers but were also published by the Agitators and the General Council of the New Model Army.

Major published versions of the Agreement include:
*"An Agreement of the People for a firm and present peace upon grounds of common right", presented to the Army Council in October 1647. [ [http://www.constitution.org/eng/conpur074.htm An Agreement of the People for a firm and present peace upon grounds of common right] October 1647]
*"An Agreement of the People of England, and the places therewith incorporated, for a secure and present peace, upon grounds of common right, freedom and safety" presented to the Rump Parliament in January 1649. [ [http://www.constitution.org/eng/conpur081.htm An Agreement of the People of England, and the places therewith incorporated, for a secure and present peace, upon grounds of common right, freedom and safety] January 1649]
*"AN AGREEMENT OF THE Free People of England. Tendered as a Peace-Offering to this distressed Nation" extended version from the Leveller leaders, "Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburne, Master William Walwyn, Master Thomas Prince, and Master Richard Overton, Prisoners in the Tower of London, May 1, 1649" [http://www.marxists.org/history/england/english-revolution/may-day.htm Agreement of the Free People AN AGREEMENT OF THE Free People of England. Tendered as a Peace-Offering to this distressed Nation] an extended version from the imprisonment of the Leveller leaders, May 1649]

Soon after the First English Civil War the Agreement was the subject of the Putney Debates in 1647. The proposals in the Agreement developed with each rendition, the initial major tenets, that were presented at the Putney Debates, were freedom of religion, the frequent convening of a new Parliaments and equality for all under the law. As these basic proposals were queried, other provisions were added, for example Roman Catholics were exempt from the right to religious freedom, and the electorate was to be made up of adult male property holders. The Levellers hoped to base England's new constitution on the "Agreement of the People", but in the end, the New Model Army based their demands on an alternative less revolutionary document, the Heads of Proposals, that was proposed and supported by the "Grandees" of the Army.

ee also

* English Commonwealth
* Instrument of Government

Footnotes


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