17th Century England

Primary Number: HIST 30412

ConStudies Number: CNST 30622

ConStudies CRN: 16955

Primary CRN: 16956

Instructor: Rapple, Rory

Day/Time: TTh12:30pm-1:45pm

Attributes: HBEU - History of Europe HCT3 -HIST Cat 3:Modern Europe HIST - old Core History MESE - European Studies Course WKHI - new Core History

Location: DeBartolo Hall 203

England's seventeenth century provides one of the most compelling epochs of human history, full of a cast of remarkable characters. Once Elizabeth I died in 1603, a new dynasty, the Scottish royal house, the Stuarts, came to the throne in the person of James VI & I. A new political dynamic ensued. Insoluble tensions arose between perceived licentiousness in high politics on one hand and puritan moral rigour on the other, between royal control of religion and a hankering after policies based on literal Biblical interpretation and also between a gaping royal treasury and public reluctance to contribute financially to the realm. These, and other factors, resulted in the unthinkable: the dissolution of the ties that had held English politics and society together. The Civil War (or "Great Rebellion", or "Puritan Revolution" depending on the interpretation favoured) that resulted gave rise to a welter of new constitutional ideas, religious experiments and virulent anti-Catholicism. These were all set loose as King and Parliament fought for domination of the country. We will pay particular attention to the figure of Oliver Cromwell, who came to command English politics both before and after the hitherto unimaginable public execution of the king (who many believed was God's anointed). We will also ask why the English after allowing their king to be executed and their toleration a substantial Interregnum subsequently restored Charles II, their erstwhile king's son, as monarch. Remarkable figures that we will encounter and evaluate include the Leveller John Lilburne, the poet John Milton, Praise-God Barebones (yes, that is a name) and the libidinous Samuel Pepys.