John Lilburne imprisoned though he was not found guilty

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Historical Context Note

John Lilburne was one of the pre-eminent members of the Leveller movement that emerged among the Parliamentarians during the First English Civil War. Not long after the Commonwealth government took control with the execution of Charles I, however, he began to protest against what he saw as the unconstitutional rule of the Rump Parliament and the Council of State.

Lilburne was tried for sedition in 1649, but found Not Guilty. He was put on trial again in 1652, charged with libel for statements he had made in a property dispute, and the trial ended with him being banished from England on pain of death. After Cromwell dissolved the Commonwealth's Rump Parliament and established the Protectorate in 1653, however, Lilburne returned to …

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