Member of a republican faction in England during the English Civil Wars and Commonwealth. The name was coined by the movement's enemies to suggest that its supporters wished to level men's estates. The movement began in 1645–46 and demanded that sovereignty rest with the House of Commons (to the exclusion of king and lords), believing that manhood suffrage would make Parliament truly representative. The Levelers dominated the New Model Army, but the Putney debates in the army council discussing the Levelers' new social contract (1647) ended in deadlock. The generals restored army discipline by force, ending the Levelers' political power.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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