Diggers

Woodcut from a Diggers document by William Everard

The Diggers were a group of Protestant radicals in England, sometimes seen as forerunners of modern anarchism,[1] and also associated with agrarian socialism[2][3] and Georgism. Gerrard Winstanley's followers were known as True Levellers in 1649 and later became known as Diggers, because of their attempts to farm on common land.

Their original name came from their belief in economic equality based upon a specific passage in the Acts of the Apostles.[4][5] The Diggers tried (by "leveling" land) to reform the existing social order with an agrarian lifestyle based on their ideas for the creation of small, egalitarian rural communities. They were one of a number of nonconformist dissenting groups that emerged around this time.

Historical background

The year 1649 was a time of great social unrest in England. The Parliamentarians had won the First English Civil War but failed to negotiate a constitutional settlement with the defeated King Charles I. When members of Parliament and the Grandees in the New Model Army were faced with Charles' perceived duplicity, they tried and executed him.

Government through the King's Privy Council was replaced with a new body called the Council of State, which due to fundamental disagreements within a weakened Parliament was dominated by the Army. Many people became active in politics, suggesting alternative forms of government to replace the old order.

Royalists wished to place King Charles II on the throne; men like Oliver Cromwell wished to govern with a plutocratic Parliament voted in by an electorate based on property, similar to that which was enfranchised before the civil war; agitators called Levellers, influenced by the writings of John Lilburne, wanted parliamentary government based on an electorate of every male head of a household; Fifth Monarchy Men advocated a theocracy; and the Diggers, led by Gerrard Winstanley, advocated a more radical solution.

Other Languages
አማርኛ: ቆፋሪዎቹ
Deutsch: Diggers
español: Cavadores
Esperanto: Fosistoj
français: Bêcheux
italiano: Diggers
עברית: דיגרים
lietuvių: Digeriai
polski: Diggerzy
português: Escavadores
српски / srpski: Kopači (pokret)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kopači (pokret)
svenska: Diggers
Türkçe: Diggerlar
中文: 挖掘派