HIS109Y1 Lecture Notes - Conspicuous Consumption, Long Parliament, Rump Parliament

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Published on 28 Nov 2012
The English Civil War a war of religion
James I (1603-25)
Charles I (1625-49)
Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)
Charles II (1660-85)
James II (1685-88)
-E.C.W. result of religious tensions after Reformation, particularly in England
-Elizabeth I began a period of quiet (constructive compromise what she wanted was accepted by most
of her subjects)
she was able to keep court under control, had almost divine image (Virgin Queen), had ability to
recognize talent (choice of ministers was remarkable they followed Tudor tradition of being servants
of Crown, to do her bidding)
England became one country/single nation/dynasty w/ single Queen, language, etc. (new centralized
culture was being formed, & Shakespeare was both cause & effect of this)
Crown was recognized as having done remarkable things (Elizabeth I was gifted at getting House of
Commons to do what she wanted)
advantageous that most religious wars didn’t reach past the English Channel (Elizabeth managed to
manipulate many things there were v. few people who felt totally opposed to her)
-Elizabethan times, was actually a great revolution occurring:
1) social & economic changes were dramatically focused, partly b/c of England’s separation from the
2) role of nobility tended to be v. diff. focus in England (unique in its recognition of those that call
themselves nobles) development of canons, sea power, disengagement from continent’s wars meant
that nobility couldn’t define themselves as a warrior nobility, so Eng. Nobility was a small group w/ a
challenged purpose (seemed to be a hereditary officer class). Crown also disliked the nobility (Wars of
the Roses showed danger) Tudor policy was to allow nobility to become extinct
when she died there were fewer than 60 noble families w/ titles in England
unlike the continent, only the eldest son was noble (nobility was highly focused)
-almost all of Elizabeth’s chief councillors were of gentry stock (dependent on Crown for reward, served
it w/ great loyalty)
parliament of Reformation had established central role of House of Commons in gov’t of kingdom
(importance of House of Lords declined w/ growth of Commons)
parliament was required to grant taxes (England was becoming more of a parliamentary state)
-economic structure of kingdom changed fundamentally: nobility was in decline as an economic force
(b/c they wanted to get Queen’s attention, they had to engage in conspicuous consumption including
jewellery, property, servants, etc. to get recognized by honour & dignity of Crown)
b/c of Tudor policy, English nobility didn’t have same kind of access to property that would alienate
property of Crown (nobility couldn’t make the money they spent back from Elizabeth I)
-group that was rising in influence, power & wealth was the middle-class:
in England, there were v. wealthy people who weren’t noble (middle class: 1) urban mercantile elite,
2) country gentry landowning families)
gentry families were varied: some had estates w/o working, some were almost as wealthy as Crown
benefited most from sale of monastic lands (& from economic impact of Reformation, inflation of 16th
century though this bankrupted the nobility)
made fortunes & used them to buy more land & invested wisely for growing economic activity that
would ultimately become English commercial empire
had access to House of Commons seats
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