a2 Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
This article examines the origins of the first Agreement of the people: a draft written constitution presented to the general council of the New Model Army on 28 October 1647. It argues that the Agreement was a document that emerged from concerns amongst some of the soldiery and their civilian allies that the terms of a projected settlement with Charles I, The heads of the proposals, would betray the political programme advanced in the army's earlier public statements, especially its Declaration, or, representation of 14 June 1647. As such, this article moves away from the traditional narrative of seeing the Agreement as a Leveller manifesto that was authored in a deliberate attempt to infiltrate the army, and thereby asks fresh questions about the political networks and the programme behind the document. What emerges is a picture of the post-first Civil War political scene that integrates parliamentary manoeuvrings with City of London politics and the public and private affairs of a politicized army. As a result, the article sheds new light on aspects of the constitutional crisis of the later 1640s.
* We would like to thank seminar audiences in London and Cambridge, and Jason Peacey, David Como, Rachel Foxley, and the referees for their comments on earlier versions of this article.