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History Lessons by Jonathan Gifford

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JOHN CHURCHILL, DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH

(1650–1722)

John Churchill lived in one of the most turbulent periods of English and European history. He was born during Cromwell’s Protectorate — England’s brief flirtation with Republicanism. Charles II was restored to the throne when Churchill was 16, marginally improving the family fortunes. John’s father, Winston Churchill (an ancestor of the British Prime Minister, Winston S. Churchill), had fought on the Royalist side in the English Civil War and been fined by Parliament as a result. Charles, though relatively impoverished, recompensed Winston for his losses and found him a minor government position—though Winston still died a debtor. Winston’s son, John, became page to Charles’ younger brother, James, ...

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