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the moderate wing of the English and Scottish Puritans; a political party during the English Bourgeois Revolution of the 17th century.
Presbyterianism was founded in Scotland in the mid-16th century by J. Knox, a follower of Calvin. It was recognized as the state religion of Scotland in 1592. Presbyterianism demanded strict standardization, simplification, and economization in church worship; the replacement of bishops by elected elders (presbyters); centralization of the church; and decreased church dependence on secular authority.
Presybyterian congregations arose in England in the 1570’s. At the beginning of the revolution, the Presbyterians acquired significance as a political party, expressing the interests of the merchants and bourgeoisie, as well as some of the new nobility. The Presbyterians had a firm majority in the Long Parliament from 1640 to 1648. In 1643 the Solemn League and Convenant with Scotland was concluded under their influence, and in 1644, Presbyterianism became the state religion of England. The Presbyterians feared a deepening of the revolution and strove for an agreement with the king. This provoked discontent not only among the broad masses of the people but also among radical circles of the bourgeoisie and the new nobility who were grouped around the Independents. This situation led to the expulsion of the Presbyterians from the Long Parliament in Pride’s Purge in late 1648. After the death of O. Cromwell in 1658, the Presbyterians sought to regain power and to conclude an agreement with the king. In 1660 they helped to bring about the restoration of the Stuarts, after which they dropped out of the political arena as a party.
T. A. PAVLOVA