This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to ‘clear the ground’ for all future work in the period of the Stuart Restoration. On the one hand, it seeks to provide a detailed narrative history of England from the death of Cromwell to the fall of Clarendon, to illustrate the process by which the political and religious world of the Protectorate was transformed into that of the Restoration monarchy. It suggests answers to the traditional questions about this process, and lists the known sources for them. This book intends to identify areas for further investigation and the material upon which this might be based, and to create new debates. The central theme is the formation and implementation of national policy, and the interplay of central and local interests in this process.
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