Geoffrey Robertson presents The Levellers: The Putney Debates

Publication: October 22nd 2007


“For really I think that the poorest he that is in England have a life to live, as the greatest he: and therefore truly, sir, I think it's clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government.”  Thomas Rainsborough, one of the Levellers.


·        A new title in Verso’s Revolutions series: classic texts introduced by some of today’s most thought-provoking writers.

·        One of the first and most important demands for democracy, from British Civil War radicals the Levellers as they debated with Oliver Cromwell.

·        Introduced by human rights lawyer and author Geoffrey Robertson, renowned for acting as defence in some of the most controversial cases in recent British history, including Oz, Gay News and the Brighton bombing.


The Levellers were radicals fighting in the English Civil War in the 17th century as part of Oliver Cromwell’s army. They agitated for radical democracy, a franchise for all men, for the end of parliamentary corruption and for religious toleration. In 1647 this unrest came to a head and from October 28th at St Mary’s Church in Putney they held meetings with Cromwell and made a series of unprecedented demands.


This epochal moment in British history was a major moment in the history of world radicalism. Verso has put together the transcriptions of the Debates with key extracts from Leveller pamphlets.


Geoffrey Robertson argues in his introduction that the Levellers’ ideas are just as important today as they were then. He himself is a celebrated human rights lawyer, renowned for acting as defence in some of the most controversial cases in recent British history, including the famous cases against, Gay News, The Romans in Britain (the prosecution brought by Mary Whitehouse), the Brighton bombing and Matrix Churchill. He has also acted in well known libel cases, including defending the Guardian against Neil Hamilton MP. In 2005 he published his book on the Civil War, The Tyrannicide Brief.


ISBN: 978 1 84467 175 5 / Ł7.99 / $14.95 / Paperback


 Available from St Mary’s Church, Putney, all good bookshops and from the following websites: