The English empire engaged in planned military, religious and political conquests that elevated Protestantism in the American colonies during the years 1689-1690. During 1688, Lord Churchill’s military coup sparked a pursuit of religious and political dominance in England, and such a pursuit carried over into the colonies in America. As such, the military was a portal into political positions for soldiers. Furthermore, the English empire engaged in stringent military training, employed political positions based upon a system of meritocracy, and carried out the endeavors of the Crown nearly a century before the onset of the American Revolution.[1]


According to known historian Charles M. Andrews, the American colonies were not the result of a planned English conquest.[2] Additionally, Mr. Andrews further asserted that England became one of the world’s greatest colonizing powers without any “fixed policy, in fact, without any clear idea of what she and her people were doing.”[3] However, to the contrary, the English empire has an extensive military history that rests upon a system of meritocracy; in fact, the military used planned tactics, combined with the support of the local provincial soldiers, to gain control of Boston and Maine during 1689.[4]

The English empire used garrison government as a system that placed skilled soldiers into high-ranking military and political positions in England and America.[5] The English empire was a combative body that used military garrisons as a representation of strength and organization to intimidate outside forces and enforce domestic order.[6] The English empire used garrison government because it was a system that produced military and political dominance in pursuit of religious and imperialistic endeavors throughout Britain and the English colonies. “The army was the forceful and administrative foundation of the nation-state and its American empire.”[7]

King James underestimated the religious conscience of his military.[8] As a result, during December 1688, the military coup of Lord John Churchill exiled Catholic King James of England and placed Dutch Protestant Prince William as the new king of England.[9] As a result of Lord Churchill’s planned military coup in England, the provincial soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean, in the American colonies, engaged in rebellion in support of Prince William.[10]

The relationship King James held with France and Catholicism was a threat to the Anglican monopoly of public life in England; still, Lord Churchill had hoped the coup would only force reform on King James, but, instead, the military coup exiled King James to France.[11] As such, Lord Churchill wanted to protect the American empire against France, and he requested King William to “protect the American empire and authorize retaliation against the French.”[12] By order of King William, the English would “harvest whatever the war won in America.”[13]

During 1688, the provincial soldiers in Boston and Maine questioned, what they perceived as, suspicious leadership from the governor-general of New England, and viceroy of King James, Sir Edmond Andros.[14] The provincial armies questioned the direction of governor-general Andros, due to the relationships Sir Andros held with the Indians and King James, and they feared the governor-general was setting them up for a French-Indian sabotage.[15] The provincial soldiers believed governor-general Andros was involved in the popish plot, and was ambitious to serve French interests, alongside King James, to ruin New England.[16] When Sir Edmond Andros left for Boston during 1689, he lost control of the Massachusetts provincials and they mutinied.[17]  

Once Boston received news from England that Catholic King James had been ousted and replaced by Protestant Prince William, the provincial armies incited rebellion and pursued all Catholic leaders put into leadership roles by King James.[18] After the “Boston mob stormed King’s Chapel and stripped it bare,” Beacon Hill hoisted an orange flag that alerted approaching militia that the city had “fallen to the cause of the Prince of Orange.”[19]

The military prowess of Lord John Churchill raised his status from soldier to English aristocrat, as he received the title of earl of Marlborough.[20] The English army embodied military and political prowess that dominated and conformed the American colonies into the imperial, political and religious system that Churchill envisioned for the English empire. This was a system that replicated the Anglican belief in the Church of England.[21]

As such, the communities in America were influenced by the military, political and religious conquests of the English army. Several soldiers were promoted in their rank to governor-general based on their military skill. They commanded such places as New York and New Jersey.[22]

During 1699, many “Churchill connections were introduced to careers in the royal household that would affect America and the empire.”[23] Meritocracy was prevalent in the relationships associated with John Churchill; additionally, promotions were rapid for the conspirators in Lord Churchill’s Coup.[24]

The military channeled the force necessary for England to maintain her colonies. The English empire was guided by military endeavors, orchestrated and implemented by soldiers in the English army and navy, in pursuit for imperialistic and religious dominance in England, and such pursuits transitioned overseas and into the colonies.[25] The immense military and religious association that propelled the English empire in its conquests of imperialism encompasses a purposeful approach to the territories in America. This is apparent when the coup of Lord John Churchill is considered.

John Churchill was always committed to “Protestant patriotism.” His father, Sir Winston Churchill, taught, young John, principles of religious royalism at an early age. Lord Churchill was loyal to the Church of England; to him, it was an institution that was “loyalist and legalist.”[26]  

The military coup of Lord John Churchill created a religious and political effect, in England and the colonies, which bolstered allegiance to the imperial constitution and to Protestantism during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The English empire implemented imperialistic endeavors that were enforced by the military to secure territories for the Crown. High-ranking soldiers, such as John Churchill, altered “American politics, culture, and empire.”[27] The military coup of Lord Churchill weakened the provincial governments in America and left such governments open to a course of coups carried out by the provincial armies. “Each American coup reflected, in the exaggerated way characteristic of colonies, aspects of the coup d’état in England.”[28] The Massachusetts provincials mutinied in Maine, and the provincial soldiers created a coup in Boston.[29]

 The colonies in America were heavily organized and impacted by the military craftiness of Lord John Churchill, the Earl of Marlborough, nearly a century before the onset of the American Revolution. Many prominent soldiers, from Prince William’s victory against King James, were sent to govern such places as New York and Massachusetts.[30] There was apparent competition between army and navy officers for the chance to influence America.[31] The participants in lord Churchill’s Coup vied for government leadership. The coup conspirators were in competition for political leadership of nine American governments. King William relied on the Earl of Marlborough for political recommendations.[32]

 John Churchill learned his military fortitude alongside the, once Duke of York, former Catholic King James of England.[33] Lord Churchill then designed a coup which ousted the Catholic king in favor of a Protestant prince. The Earl of Marlborough masterminded a design for England that crossed the Atlantic Ocean and continued into the American colonies. According to the dethroned King James, the coup of Lord Churchill had “encompassed three ancient kingdoms and one new empire.”[34]

The religious and political policy created by the English empire altered the colonies in America. This control was enforced heavily by the military. The English empire had a fixed policy for the American colonies; it is apparent such policy held a conspicuous vision for colonial regulation when consideration is given to the effects the military coup brought to the colonies during 1689.









[1] Webb, Stephen Saunders, Lord Churchill’s Coup: The Anglo-American Empire and the Glorious Revolution Reconsidered (New      York: Random House, 1995) pg. 166

[2] Andrews, Charles M., The Colonial Background of the American Revolution: Four Essays in Colonial History (Connecticut: Yale Press, 1958) pgs. 5-6

[3] “Ibid.” pg. 5

[4] Webb, Stephen Saunders, Lord Churchill’s Coup: The Anglo-American Empire and the Glorious Revolution Reconsidered (New      York: Random House, 1995) pgs. 190, 193, 195

[5] “Ibid.” pgs. 77-78, 80


[6] “Ibid.” pg. 14

[7] “Ibid.” pgs. 256, 260.

[8] “Ibid.” pg. 156

[9] “Ibid.” pgs. 156-158, 187

[10] “Ibid.” pg. 166

[11] “Ibid.” pgs. 158, 174-175

[12] “Ibid.” pg. 180

[13] “Ibid.”

[14] “Ibid.” pgs. 182, 185

[15] “Ibid.” pg. 185

[16] “Ibid.”

[17] “Ibid.”

[18] “Ibid.” pg. 186, 190

[19] “Ibid.” pg. 190

[20] “Ibid.” pg. 175.

[21] “Ibid.” pgs. 213-214

[22] “Ibid.” pg. 236

[23] “Ibid.” pg. 263

[24] “Ibid.” pg. 236, 285

[25] “Ibid.” pgs. 265, 270, 273.

[26] “Ibid.” pg. 17

[27] “Ibid.” pg. 264

[28] “Ibid.” pg. 166

[29] “Ibid.” pgs. 184-185, 195

[30] “Ibid.” pgs. 237

[31] “Ibid.” pg. 269

[32] “Ibid.” pg. 179

[33] “Ibid.” pgs. 28-29

[34] “Ibid.” pg. 168