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English Civil War.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Anthony Cantor

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 continent 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 16 th 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 nobility could rarely exercise patronage in parliament: they were filled mostly by the gentry families (who were beginning to take over aristocratic patronage networks) -money markets grew w/ trade, & England saw its own money market grow greatly English ships were carrying more trade, which expanded more to the East (new opportunities available) -expansion of England saw bringing of huge amounts of raw material to England (began w/ huge amounts of codfish from Newfoundland) (English economy was changing dramatically) -middle class was v
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