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Covenanting CitizensThe Protestation Oath and Popular Political Culture in the English Revolution$
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John Walter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605590.001.0001

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Swearing the Nation: Administering the Protestation

Swearing the Nation: Administering the Protestation

(p.113) 4 Swearing the Nation: Administering the Protestation
Covenanting Citizens

John Walter

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the use of the Protestation to swear the nation. In a hitherto little-known phase through to autumn 1641, the pattern of early subscription and reconstruction of the micro-politics of these communities provides a litmus test for the detection of pro-parliamentarian political and religious networks and hotspots. In a second phase in early 1642, Parliament succeeded in systematically swearing the nation. Identifying gaps in the Protestation returns in the parliamentary archive, the chapter reports the evidence of a nationwide survey into provincial and local records to reconstruct a fuller picture of the Protestation’s acceptance or rejection. Within the space of three months and without statutory authority or precedent, Parliament was able to get the Protestation administered in most, probably all, English counties. Mapping the returns, the chapter examines the political geography of subscription and its relationship to patterns of regional allegiance on the eve of civil war.

Keywords:   Protestation, pro-parliamentarian, political allegiance, parliamentary archive, swearing the nation, micro-politics, oath-taking

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