Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts

Open Yale


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This course is intended to provide an up-to-date introduction to the development of English society between the late fifteenth and the early eighteenth centuries. Particular issues addressed in the lectures will include: the changing social structure; households; local communities; gender roles; economic development; urbanization; religious change from the Reformation to the Act of Toleration; the Tudor and Stuart monarchies; rebellion, popular protest and civil war; witchcraft; education, literacy and print culture; crime and the law; poverty and social welfare; the changing structures and dynamics of political participation and the emergence of parliamentary government.

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What you'll learn on the course

Structures of Power
Witchcraft and Magic
Popular Protest
Crime and the Law
Regicide and Republic

Course programme

Lecture 1General Introduction

Lecture 2 "The Tree of Commonwealth": The Social Order in the Sixteenth Century

Lecture 3 Households: Structures, Priorities, Strategies, Roles

Lecture 4 Communities: Key Institutions and Relationships

Lecture 5 "Countries" and Nation: Social and Economic Networks and the Urban System

Lecture 6 The Structures of Power

Lecture 7 Late Medieval Religion and Its Critics

Lecture 8 Reformation and Division, 1530-1558

Lecture 9 "Commodity" and "Commonwealth": Economic and Social Problems, 1520-1560

Lecture 10 The Elizabethan Confessional State: Conformity, Papists and Puritans

Lecture 11 The Elizabethan "Monarchical Republic": Political Participation

Lecture 12 Economic Expansion, 1560-1640

Lecture 13 A Polarizing Society, 1560-1640

Lecture 14 Witchcraft and Magic

Lecture 15 Crime and the Law

Lecture 16 Popular Protest

Lecture 17 Education and Literacy

Lecture 18 Street Wars of Religion: Puritans and Arminians

Lecture 19 Crown and Political Nation, 1604-1640

Lecture 20 Constitutional Revolution and Civil War, 1640-1646

Lecture 21 Regicide and Republic, 1647-1660

Lecture 22 An Unsettled Settlement: The Restoration Era, 1660-1688

Lecture 23 England, Britain, and the World: Economic Development, 1660-1720

Lecture 24 Refashioning the State, 1688-1714

Lecture 25 Concluding Discussion and Advice on Examination