Marxists Internet Archive: History Archive: British History


British History

The Magna Carta 1215

The charter signed by King John under pressure from the Nobility, establishing civil rights which were the basis of English Law thereafter.

The Peasants Revolt 1381

In 1381, the peasants to the East of London rose up and marched on the King in London. They were tricked however, and their leader murdered.

The English Revolution 1640-49

The English Revolution led by Oliver Cromwell beheaded the King and established the rule of Parliament for the first time. The Levellers of Gerrard Winstanley were the left wing of the Revolution and put forward Communist demands.

The History of the Twelves Great Livery Companies of London Vol I 1836
The History of the Twelves Great Livery Companies of London Vol II 1837
The Guild Companies of London 1908

Histories of the English guilds which date back to before the Norman Conquest.

The British Democrats from 1789 to the Spenceans

Political reformers and revolutionaries in England, Ireland, and Scotland, including the Corresponding Societies, the United Britons, and the Spenceans.

The Founding of the London Corresponding Society, by Thomas Hardy, 1799

The Regulations of the London Corresponding Society 1792

The Black Dwarf 1817-

The Luddites and the Combination Laws 1795-1845

During the Industrial Revolution workers’ organisation was repressed with the utmost brutality. Despite this, the British workers organised themselves and eventually forced the Combination Laws to be repealed in 1824. New Combination Laws were brought in however in 1825.

The Chartists 1830s/1840s

The Chartists were the first representatives of the proletariat to enter the political arena in their own right as workers. Their demands were for basic democracy and the right to organise.

Condition of the Working Class in England, Engels 1845

In this early work, Engels describes the conditions in the factories of industrial Britain. The picture Engels paints, using such resources as reports by the Factory Inspectors, is horrific.

The Laws, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, Thomas Erskine May, 1844

Children's Commission Report 1862

International Workingmen's Association 1864-72

The “First International” was headquartered in London, bring English Trades Council leaders and European revolutionaries together with the mass membership of trades unions and radical political movements. See particularly The Irish Question and the Fenians.

Social Democracy in Britain 1880s/1890s

In the latter part of the 19th century, British socialists joined with comrades in Europe to build the parties of the working class which eventually led to the Labour Party and Communist Party of the twentieth century.

The Independent Labour Party

The ILP was a reformist Party founded by the leaders of “New Unionism” in 1893, capitulated to social chauvenism during WW1, but then took up a centrist position between the Labour Party and the Communist Party.

Communist Party of Great Britain

The documents collected here catalogue a sorry episode in the history of the British Communist Party.

The General Strike 1926

In May 1926 the British trade union movement brought capitalism to its knees – but then capitulated.

The Revolutionary Tradition in England, Francis Ambrose Ridley, 1947

An overview of the revolutionary tradition in England from medaeval times to the founding of the Communist Party.