Protecting Prerogative: William III and the East India Trade Debate, 1689-1698

James Bohun

Abstract


Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the East India Company struggled to protect its royal monopoly from the challenges of a group of interlopers who had strong support in the House of Commons. The conflict for control of the East India trade had a great effect on the royal prerogative. Historians have presented differing views on the state of the royal prerogative for this period, and positions have remained polarized along conservative and radical lines. Close examination of the East India trade debate sheds much light on the issue. The debate over trade reveals a process of give and take in the struggle over the royal prerogative, with the King giving up certain rights in exchange for Parliamentary support to prosecute the war in France.

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