The Leveller Women

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Transcript The Leveller Women

Hidden by Red Saunders: An
Impressions Gallery touring
exhibition, 9 March – 29
September 2013
Leveller Women in the English
Revolution, 1647
The Leveller women were a major influence in the English Civil War. Although the physical
efforts were mainly carried out by the men, the women’s contribution to the revolution
through their leafleting and campaigning should not be overlooked. It was these efforts
that gave the revolution a lasting legacy.
The English Revolution
Protestant King Charles I’s marriage to
Catholic French Princess Henrietta
King Charles I wanting to combine
England and Scotland
King Charles I dissolving Parliaments and
giving them no power.
Today’s Opponents
(The Parliament and their supporters)
(The Royalists and their supporters)
The course of the war..
For the first part of the war, the
Roundheads (Parliament) were doing very
well with the support of Scotland. Despite
Charles receiving
support from
Ireland, the King was handed over to the
Scots in 1643.
Charles made an agreement with Scotland
promising Church Reform in exchange for their
invasion of England and reinstating Charles on
the throne. This resulted in the execution of
prominent Parliamentary figures.
The end of the war
The date was set for the trial of Charles I.
Fifty-nine commissioners found Charles
guilty of treason as a
“tyrant, traitor,
murderer and public
He was beheaded on 30 January 1649.
Who were the Leveller Women?
The Levellers were a
political movement during
this series of events
which aimed to extend
suffrage, create equality
before the law, religious
tolerance and popular
sovereignty. These aims
were expressed in a
manifesto named “The
Agreement of the
The Agreement of the People
The peoples' representatives (i.e. Members of
Parliament) should be elected in proportion to
the population of their constituencies
The existing Parliament should be dissolved on
30 September 1648
Future Parliaments should be elected biennially
and sit every other year from April to
The biennial Parliament (consisting of a
single elected House) should be the supreme
authority in the land, with powers to make or
repeal laws, appoint officials and conduct
domestic and foreign policy
How were the Levellers recognised?
This was the first time women got involved in political action.
Their support was gained through a system of leafleting,
petitions and a newspaper called The Moderate.
Sea green
ribbon pinned
on clothing
Stem of
rosemary in hats
In 1548 they demonstrated in London calling for
equal rights and within one year gaining ten
thousand signatures on a second women’s petition
to parliament. Unfortunately after Pride’s Purge, they
were largely suppressed and by 1650 were no
longer a serious threat to the established order.
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