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The Stuarts (1603-1688)

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The Stuarts (1603-1688) ...

Dr Marek Oziewicz, History of England Powerpoint presentation references

    The Stuarts (1603-1688)

Fundamental changes in English economy and society:

    •Negative: decline in living standards; widespread underemployment; large-scale migration to the cities;

    •Positive: the upsurge in agricultural productivity; the emergence of integrated national economy

    gradual shift from regional self-sufficiency to regional specialization; a retailing revolution (the coming of age of the shop); dawn of the service and leisure industries; •Towering above the Stuart age are the two

    decades of civil war, revolution, and republican experiment.

    A growing population puts pressure on food, on land, on jobs, and increases the duties and

    responsibilities of the government beyond the Crown's resources and capacity. London dominates the governmental, legal, and political world. With over half million inhabitants it is bigger than the next fifty towns in England combined.The schemes to improve river navigation and transport enhance the emergence of a single, integrated national economy. Regional specializations appear, and as a

    thconsequence of and further stimulus to this a retailing revolution takes place. 17 century emigration:

    the largest single group makes for the West Indies; a second substantial group makes for Virginia and for Catholic Maryland; a very much smaller group makes for Puritan New England. Social status in

    seventeenth-century England is enjoyed only by the gentry and the peerage. When the definition of “gentility” is stretched to include non-landed city dwellers, country gentlemen create a new term which

    restores their exclusiveness: the squirearchy. Aristocracy emerges: by 1690, England already has a flexible arid simple moneyed elite whose access to wealth is not restricted by outdated notions of purity of birth as in much of Europe. Stuart governments have little understanding of the social and economic changes

    and less ability to influence them. The Stuarts, the least indebted monarchs in Europe, have an adequate income and a balanced budget during peace, but not enough money to wage successful war. There is no standing army or organized police force and public officials are paid by the king.

    1603-1625 James I. 1603 Beginning of a new dynasty which rules England and Scotland. Converts into Anglicanism and attempts to extend Anglican episcopacy to Scotland; 1605 The gunpowder plot of Guy Fawkes to blow up the King and the Houses of Parliament as a way to stop further persecution of Catholics; 1625 Death and accession of his son, Charles I.

    James I Stuart (James VI of Scotland) inherits the throne of England as the great-grandson of the Scottish king James IV’s English wife Margaret Tudor (Mary Queen of Scots). He is an undignified figure, unkempt, uncouth, unsystematic, and fussy; presides over a court where peculation, the enjoyment of perquisites and sexual scandals rapidly obstruct efficient and honest government. 1625-1649 Charles I.

    1625-30 unsuccessful wars with Spain and with France; 1629-37 Charles governs without calling Parliament; 1637-40 civil war with Scotland; 1641 the Ulster massacre; 1642-46 the first Civil War; 1644 the battle of Marston Moor near York; 1645 both sides “new model” their military organizations; Parliamentarian victory at Naseby. The war is won by attrition. 1648-49 the second Civil War, a series of uncoordinated revolts led by moderate parliamentarians and ex-royalists. Again nothing is achieved. 1649 trial and beheading of Charles I

    Charles was short, a stammerer, a man of deep indecision who tried to simplify the world around him by persuading himself that where the king led by example and where order and uniformity were set forth, obedience and peace would follow. Charles I was one of those politicians so confident of the purity of his own motives and actions, so full of rectitude, that he saw no need to explain his actions or justify his conduct to his people. He was also a silent and an inaccessible king except to his confidants. Ironically, he was destined to become a Royal Martyr: In January 1649, the king is tried for his life. His dignity and forbearance make it a massive propaganda defeat for his opponents. His public beheading at Whitehall takes place before a stunned but sympathetic crowd. This most dishonorable and duplicitous of English kings grasps a martyr's crown, his reputation rescued by that dignity at the end and by the publication of his self-justification, the Eikon Basilike, a runaway best seller for decades to come.

Major causes of the Civil War:

    1. The king’s support for the religious experiments of Archbishop William Laud. Laud’s attempt

    to restore the power and authority of the bishops and of the Church courts revives Puritan

    militancy. The Laudians are seen as a clique of crypto-Catholics.

Dr Marek Oziewicz, History of England Powerpoint presentation references

    2. Charles I’s civil war with his Scots subjects waged between 1637 and 1640. The Ulster massacre

    of 1641 when Catholics of the north of Ireland, fearful that the English Parliament would

    introduce new repressive religious legislation, decided to take pre-emptive action to disarm

    those Ulster Protestants who would enforce any such legislation.

    4. Parliament’s distrust in the king as the partner in governing, constitutional issues together with

    the accountability of the king's ministers and councilors to Parliament.

    The first Civil War sees between 120,000 and 140,000 men in arms during the campaigning seasons; a war of skirmishes and sieges rather than of battles. The second Civil War is a series uncoordinated revolts of the provinces against centralization and military rule. The third is local scuffles. Two invaluable by-products of the Civil War are: the introduction of arabic numerals instead of Roman ones in official accounts and the printed questionnaire.

Commonwealth and the Protectorate (1649-60)

    1649-60 England, now called the Commonwealth, is a republic: monarchy is abolished, along with the House of Lords and the Anglican Church. England has four separate constitutions in the period. It is ruled by the Rump Parliament (1649-53), by Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector and Head of State (1653-58), and finally by his incompetent son Richard (1659-60). 1649-52 third Civil War and the final defeat of royalists led from Scotland by Charles II; 1652-4 naval war with the Dutch doubles Britain's entrepot trade; 1653 the Nominated (Barebones) Parliament replaces the Rump; 1655-60 war with Spain. The Restoration (1660-88), a period of unsuccessful attempts of the English to make peace with their Stuart kings, fails because of religious strife.

    Charles II believed that he possessed semi-divine powers and attributes. He was also strongly drawn to Roman Catholicism (to which he converted in his deathbed). His mother, wife, brother, and favorite sister were all Catholics. He knew that wherever Catholicism was strong, monarchy was strong, and that the Catholics had remained conspicuously loyal to his father.

    James II was a Catholic bigot who believed himself to be moderate and intended to secure for all time a religious and civil equality for his co-religionists. This meant not only removing from them all the fines for non-attendance at Anglican worship and all acts barring them from all offices and paid employments under the Crown, but also allowing the Catholic Church to be set up alongside the Anglican Church. 1660-1685 Charles II. 1660 Charles II restored unconditionally; refuses to proscribe the enemies of monarchy and give special positions of power to his supporters; 1662 the Act of Uniformity restores the Church of England; the Royal Society is launched; 1663 the failure of first royal attempt to grant religious toleration; 1665-67 the second Dutch war; 1665 the last outbreak of plague; 1666 the Great Fire of London; 1679-81 the Exclusion crisis, a full-scale attempt to place a parliamentary bar on the accession of James. The emergence of the Whig and Tory parties; 1683 Whigs proscribed; 1685 Charles II dies, accession of his Catholic brother James II.

    The Plague and the Great Fire of London. In the 1660s and 1670s Charles rules without serious

    threat to his position at home or abroad, but the early euphoria gives way to a mild political depression as the final ravages of plague (1665), the humiliating losses to the Dutch during the second Dutch war (1665-7), and the Great Fire of London (1666) sap English self-confidence that God would bless a land that had come to its sense.

    The great fire raged for four days and three nights, destroying 461 acres (186,5 hectares) of buildings which included 87 parish churches, 52 halls of guilds and trading companies, the great medieval St. Paul’s Cathedral and over 15,000 dwellings. 1685-1688 James II. 1683 accedes to the throne, aged 42, as a

    younger brother of Charles II. Intends to secure for all time a religious and civil equality for Catholics; 1687 Declaration of Indulgence suspends all laws against Catholics and non-Conformists, giving full religious freedom to Dissidents; Tories proscribed; 1688 James II’s son, James Edward born; Parliament, horrified by the prospect of Catholic dynasty, invites James’s Protestant son-in-law William of Orange to

    restore English liberties; the Glorious Revolution; James II takes flight, accession of William III and Mary. Since 1688 when James II is forced to leave England those who still supported him, even in exile, became known as “Jacobites” (“Jacobus” is the Latin word for “James”). The Jacobite threat would hover over the English monarchy for the next century, with Jacobite risings and invasions in 1707, 1715, and 1745, to finally be associated with the French Revolutionaries and Napoleon Bonaparte.England at the

Dr Marek Oziewicz, History of England Powerpoint presentation references

    thend of the 17 centuryFor the Church of England the seventeenth century is an age of

    disillusionment. By the time of the Glorious Revolution it loses its intellectual, moral, and spiritual authority. The chaos of the Civil War creates a bewildering variety of sects and churches with the Baptists, and the Quakers as the largest ones. The Toleration Act of 1689 is the formal recognition of the fact of religious pluralism.

    Restoration science is just as secularized. The later seventeenth century in the Royal Society is not an age of visions but of piecemeal enquiry and improvement. Francis Bacon's principles of exact observation, measurement, and of inductive reasoning, refined by the Frenchman Descartes, allow major advances in the classification and study of plant and animal life. Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia

    Mathematica (1687) is the basis of understanding of the physical laws for two hundred years, and the work of Robert Boyle in chemistry and Robert Hooke in geology creates new disciplines on the basis of extensive experimentation and measurement.

    Political thought is being secularized too. Thomas Hobbes strips sovereignty of its moral basis; in Leviathan (1651) the concept of legitimacy as the justification of political authority is replaced by a concentration on de facto power and the ability to afford protection to the subjects who lived under this power.

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