Early modern England was marked by profound changes in economy, society, politics and religion. It is widely believed that the poverty and discontent which these changes often caused resulted in major rebellion and frequent 'riots'. Whereas the politics of the people have often been described as a 'many-headed monster'; spasmodic and violent, and the only means by which the people could gain expression in a highly hierarchical society and a state that denied them a political voice, the essays in this collection argue for the inherently political nature of popular protest through a series of studies of acts of collective protest, up to and including the English Revolution.
Covenanting Citizens throws new light on the origins of the English civil war and on the radical nature of the English Revolution. An exercise in writing the 'new political history', the volume challenges the discrete categories of high and popular politics and the presumed boundaries between national and local history. It offers the first full study of the Protestation, the first state oath to be issued under parliamentary authority. The politics behind its introduction into Parliament, it argues, challenges the idea that the drift to civil war was unintended or accidental. Used as a loyalty oath to swear the nation, it required those who took it to defend king, church, parliament, and England's liberties. Despite these political commonplaces, the Protestation had radical intentions and radical consequences. It envisaged armed resistance against the king, and possibly more. It became a charter by which parliament felt able to fight a civil war and it was used to raise men, money, and political support. Requiring resistance against enemies that might include a king himself contemplating the use of political violence, the Protestation offered a radical extension of membership of the political nation to those hitherto excluded by class, age, or gender. In envisaging new forms of political mobilisation, the Protestation promoted the development of a parliamentary popular political culture and ideas of active citizenry. Covenanting Citizens demonstrates how the Protestation was popularly appropriated to legitimise an agency expressed in street politics, new forms of mass petitioning, and popular political violence.
Riot, Rebellion and Popular Politics in Early Modern England reassesses the relationship between politics, social change and popular culture in the period c. 1520-1730. It argues that early modern politics needs to be understood in broad terms, to include not only states and elites, but also disputes over the control of resources and the distribution of power. Andy Wood assesses the history of riot and rebellion in the early modern period, concentrating upon: popular involvement in religious change and political conflict, especially the Reformation and the English Revolution; relations between ruler and ruled; seditious speech; popular politics and the early modern state; custom, the law and popular politics; the impact of literacy and print; and the role of ritual, gender and local identity in popular politics.
The story of the reign of Charles I - through the lives of his people. Prize-winning historian David Cressy mines the widest range of archival and printed sources, including ballads, sermons, speeches, letters, diaries, petitions, proclamations, and the proceedings of secular and ecclesiastical courts, to explore the aspirations and expectations not only of the king and his followers, but also the unruly energies of many of his subjects, showing how royal authority was constituted, in peace and in war - and how it began to fall apart. A blend of micro-historical analysis and constitutional theory, parish politics and ecclesiology, military, cultural, and social history, Charles I and the People of England is the first major attempt to connect the political, constitutional, and religious history of this crucial period in English history with the experience and aspirations of the rest of the population. From the king and his ministers to the everyday dealings and opinions of parishioners, petitioners, and taxpayers, David Cressy re-creates the broadest possible panorama of early Stuart England, as it slipped from complacency to revolution.
This Handbook brings together leading historians of the events surrounding the English revolution, exploring how the events of the revolution grew out of, and resonated, in the politics and interactions of the each of the Three Kingdoms - England, Scotland, and Ireland. It captures a shared British and Irish history, comparing the significance of events and outcomes across the Three Kingdoms. In doing so, the Handbook offers a broader context for the history of the Scottish Covenanters, the Irish Rising of 1641, and the government of Confederate Ireland, as well as the British and Irish perspective on the English civil wars, the English revolution, the Regicide, and Cromwellian period. The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution explores the significance of these events on a much broader front than conventional studies. The events are approached not simply as political, economic, and social crises, but as challenges to the predominant forms of religious and political thought, social relations, and standard forms of cultural expression. The contributors provide up-to-date analysis of the political happenings, considering the structures of social and political life that shaped and were re-shaped by the crisis. The Handbook goes on to explore the long-term legacies of the crisis in the Three Kingdoms and their impact in a wider European context.
"Das Überraschendste an einer psychologischen Masse ist: welcher Art auch die einzelnen sein mögen, die sie bilden, wie ähnlich oder unähnlich ihre Lebensweise, Beschäftigungen, ihr Charakter oder ihre Intelligenz ist, durch den bloßen Umstand ihrer Umformung zu Masse besitzen sie eine Art Gemeinschaftsseele, vermöge deren sie in ganz andrer Weise fühlen, denken und handeln, als jedes von ihnen für sich fühlen, denken und handeln würde. Es gibt gewisse Ideen und Gefühle, die nur bei den zu Massen verbundenen einzelnen auftreten oder sich in Handlungen umsetzen." G. Le Bon
In this study, the author offers new interpretations of Shakespeare's works in the context of two major contemporary notions of collectivity: the crowd and rumour. The plays illustrate that rumour and crowd are mutually dependent; they also betray a fascination with the fact that crowd and rumour make individuality disappear. Shakespeare dramatizes these mechanisms, relating the crowd to class conflict, to rhetoric, to the theatre and to the organization of the state; and linking rumour to fear, to fame and to philosophical doubt. Paying attention to all levels of collectivity, Wiegandt emphasizes the close relationship between the crowd onstage and the Elizabethan audience. He argues that there was a significant - and sometimes precarious - metatheatrical blurring between the crowd on the stage and the crowd around the stage in performances of crowd scenes. The book's focus on crowd and rumour provides fresh insights on the central problems of some of Shakespeare's most contentiously debated plays, and offers an alternative to the dominant tradition of celebrating Shakespeare as the origin of modern individualism.
The sequence of civil wars that ripped England apart in the 17th century was the single most traumatic event between the medieval Black Death and the two world wars. Braddick gives the reader a sense both of what it was like to live through events of uncontrollable violence and what really animated the different sides.
This collection of essays seeks to shed light on the politics of those people who are normally thought of as being excluded from the political nation in early modern England. If by political nation we mean those who sat in parliament, the governors of counties and towns, and the enfranchised classes in the constituencies, then the 'excluded' would be those who were neither actively involved in the process of governing nor had any say in choosing those who would rule over them - the bulk of the population at this time. Yet this volume shows that these people were not, in fact, excluded from politics. Not only did the masses possess political opinions which they were capable of articulating in a public forum, but they were alos often active participants in the political process themselves and taken seriously in that capacity by the governmental elite. The various essays deal with topics as wide-ranging as riots, rumours, libels, seditious words, public opinion, the structures of local government, and the gendered dimensions of popular political participation, and cover the period from the eve of the Reformation to the Industrial Revolution. They challenge many existing assumptions concerning the nature and significance of public opinion and politics out-of-doors in the early modern period and show us that the people mattered in politics, and thus why we, as historians, cannot afford to ignore them. Politics was more participatory, in this undemocratic age, than one might have thought. The contributors to this volume show that there was a lively and engaged public sphere throughout this period, from Tudor times to the Georgian era.
This book attempts both to take stock of directions in the field and to suggest alternative perspectives on some central aspects of the period.
This concise and accessible book explores the history of gender in England between 1500 and 1700. Amidst the political and religious disruptions of the Reformation and the Civil War, sexual difference and gender were matters of public debate and private contention. Laura Gowing provides unique insight into gender relations in a time of flux, through sources ranging from the women who tried to vote in Ipswich in 1640, to the dreams of Archbishop Laud and a grandmother describing the first time her grandson wore breeches. Examining gender relations in the contexts of the body, the house, the neighbourhood and the political world, this comprehensive study analyses the tides of change and the power of custom in a pre-modern world. This book offers: Previously unpublished documents by women and men from all levels of society, ranging from private letters to court cases A critical examination of a new field, reflecting original research and the most recent scholarship In-depth analysis of historical evidence, allowing the reader to reconstruct the hidden histories of women Also including a chronology, who’s who of key figures, guide to further reading and a full-colour plate section, Gender Relations in Early Modern England is ideal for students and interested readers at all levels, providing a diverse range of primary sources and the tools to unlock them.
This study of the political attitudes of ordinary Londoners during the reign of Charles II examines not only the manifestations of public opinion - for example, riot and demonstration - but also the manner of its formation - religious experience, economic activity, and exposure to mass political propaganda. Professor Harris shows to be misleading the conventional view, that the whigs enjoyed the support of the London masses, and the tories were essentially anti-populist. Both sides had public support during the exclusion crisis, and this division stemmed from fundamental religious tensions within London political culture, dating back to 1660 and before. Attractively illustrated with polemical contemporary engravings, London Crowds demonstrates clearly the value of bringing together both high and low activity into a truly integrated social history of politics, and sheds important new light not just on urban agitation but on the nature of late-Stuart party conflict.
This book is the first full-length study of the republican Henry Neville as country gentleman, politician, political thinker, rebel and libeller. It traces the development of Neville’s political thought from the English Civil Wars to the Exclusion Crisis and beyond, while also challenging the way in which the history of ideas has been conceptualised in recent years by discussing political theory alongside cheap libels, shams and poetry. While studies of early modern English republicanism tend to focus on the Interregnum, Neville’s Plato redivivus, which promoted a restructuring of the political order, was only published after the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy. This study therefore draws attention to long-term continuities in English republican thought and introduces the concept of anti-patriarchalism to focus on what Neville and other republicans writing before 1649 or after 1660 had in common. This book will be of interest to students and academics of Early Modern studies.
A volume of new essays on the dynamics of power in early modern societies.
Reading Masques interweaves analysis of text, music, and spectacle with research into the printing, marketing, and readership of masques, demonstrating the masque's importance beyond the social and historical parameters of other studies. It draws together masques by Jonson, Milton, Davenant, and Shirley with others by lesser known authors.
This book engages in an interdisciplinary study of the establishment and entrenchment of gender roles in early modern England. Drawing upon the methods and sources of literary criticism and social history, this edited volume shows how politics at both the elite and plebeian levels of society involved violence that either resulted from or expressed hostility toward the early modern gender system. Contributors take fresh approaches to prominent works by Shakespeare, Middleton, and Behn as well as discuss lesser known texts and events such as the execution of female heretics in Reformation Norwich and the punishment of prostitutes in seventeenth-century London to draw new conclusions about gender in early modern England.

Best Books