'Ranters' was a term of condemnation used to characterise one strand of the many radical sects that emerged during the Commonwealth period of the English civil wars. Many of the preachers, prophets and self-proclaimed messiahs who sprang up in these years were labelled as 'Ranters'. They grow out of the Leveller movement, but were angry at how the Levelling aims had been undermined by the political settlement after the execution of Charles I. Many 'Ranter' groups advocated free love and free speech as a means of reaching spiritual liberations, so in 1650, Acts against Adultery and Blasphemy were passed to try to quash Ranting practices.
Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to here read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.