MO3045 The Politics of Monarchy in Tudor and Stuart England, 1500-1685
Lecturer Dr Jacqueline Rose
Credits 30
Availability 2012-13, Semester 1
Class Hour view timetable
Description Early modern rule was centred on the figure of the monarch.  Access to the monarch conferred power, prestige, and the chance for profit.  Over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Tudor and Stuart kingship underwent major changes: the incorporation of power over the church, the challenges of royal minority and female rule, and – after 1603 – increasingly recalcitrant parliaments who felt under threat from divine right or ‘absolutist’ rhetoric.  Although the radical wing of the Parliamentarian forces in the Civil Wars managed to overthrow the monarchy, it is a moot point whether republicanism was viable.  In this module, students are encouraged to consider change and continuity in argument about kingship: how Tudor monarchy developed from late medieval and Renaissance frameworks, how it responded to a variety of dynastic and religious pressures, and how Stuart monarchy was defended by royalists during the Civil Wars and reconstructed after 1660. There is a rich historiography on these debates, but students will also be encouraged to explore accessible primary sources on monarchy.  They may choose to consider political thinking, or political practice, or how the two interrelate.  
Basic Reading
  • John Guy, ed., The Tudor Monarchy (1997)
  • John Guy, Tudor England (1988)
  • David Smith, A History of the Modern British Isles: The Double Crown (1998)
  • John Morrill, Oliver Cromwell (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)
  • Patrick Collinson, Elizabethan Essays (1994)

Course Structure

1. Early Tudor government
2. Royal supremacy
3. Royal minority
4. Queenship
5. Monarchical republicanism
6. Resistance theory
7. Divine right monarchy
8. Ancient constitutionalism and parliament
9. Parliamentary absolutism and constitutional royalism
10. Oliver Cromwell: republican or king in all but name?
11. Restoration

Assessment 60% examination
40% coursework - Two 3000-word essays (16% each), 1 oral presentation 8%



Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding change and continuity in early modern monarchy
  • Awareness of how political thinking and political practice interrelate
  • Analysis of primary sources as well as adjudication of historiographical debates
Restrictions Anti-requisite(s): MO3113
Resource Lists