Christopher Hill: Marxism and Methodism

Historian article

By Penny Corfield, published 31st August 2005

Christopher Hill, the eminent historian of seventeenth century England, was a convinced Marxist throughout most of his long and productive life (1912-2003). He embraced this secular world-view when he was a young History student at Oxford in the polemical 1930s and never lost his ideological commitment, even though he resigned from the British Communist Party in 1957, after the defeat of an internal party reform group to which he had devoted his energies. Marxism as a model of theory and practice provided for him both a framework of past history and a promise of future equality. It also identified class struggle as the motor force for revolutionary change. These ideas formed the basis of the Marxist interpretation of seventeenth century English history that he developed and refined over many years.

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