Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels has endured through the generations as one of the greatest pieces of British literature. His commentary on English politics and mankind in general is often thought to be very controversial. "Satire is humorous writing or speech intended to point out errors, falsehoods, foibles, or failings. It is written for the purpose of reforming human behavior or human institutions."(Slater and Gensmer 1260). In this book, Swift makes a contrast between the immoral Western civilization represented by Gulliver and the perfect state of the countries visited. Many modern day readers who do not understand the principles of satire often lose the meaning of one of the world's greatest satires, Gulliver's Travels.
Though the fist quarter of the seventeenth century was relatively peaceful, the second quarter was filled with much political corruption, upheaval, and fighting. In 1625, James I died and Charles I succeeded the throne. He appointed William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1632, and Laud soon angered the Puritans by allowing sports to take place on Sundays. Many of the Puritans emigrated from England to North America when he began imprisoning, torturing, and executing them and other nonconformist groups. Parliament met in 1640 and they decided to imprison Laud and pass laws in the Puritans" favor. Lead by Oliver Cromwell, the Puritans formed an army called the Roundheads, which was derived from the popular way they cut their hair. They defeated the Cavaliers, the royal army, in 1646 and the king surrendered. He was tried for treason because of his declaration of war on Parliament, and on January 30, 1649, an English king was executed for the first time ever. This era of Puritan rule in England lasted from 1649 to 1660. When Cromwell died in 1658, the public was in favor of restoring the monarchy. They soon invited Charles II, the brother of Charles I, to return as king.