The Levellers and the Agreement, 1647–1648
The Agreement of the People produced sharp division between more cautious Independent politicians and generals and the new faction of Levellers. The General Council debates at Putney famously expressed this split. The Agreement emphasized popular liberties—including electoral rights and liberty of conscience—and accountable, representative government. Its provocative language reflected the participatory expectations of Londoners and gave rise to the Leveller name for the new political grouping. The generals outmaneuvered the Levellers in the army, both at Putney and at the subsequent Ware rendezvous. Moreover, parliament suppressed Leveller efforts to create the continuing civilian organization that some scholars have detected. Nevertheless, the Levellers successfully promoted support for the Agreement in London, the army, and the country.