Pre-U History

Notes covering different historians' views on:


- James I in general

- James and Finance

- James and his Parliaments

- Foreign Policy

- Charles and Religion

- Charles and Parliaments

James I General



“The wisest fool in Christendom”

Unpopular due to Scottish favourites and patronage.



Dominated, influenced 20th Century historians, negative opinion.


Traditional: Gardiner and Wilson

Poor king.



Not so bad, only began to be accepted in 1970s.



If James had died 1603, would have been remembered as effective/skillful ruler in Scotland.


A king with many good qualities which tended to be obscured by a few glaring faults.



“not such a bad king after all.”



Not as bad as tradition makes him out to be, successful ruler in Scotland.

Anglo-Scottish union a noble objective, sacrificed on the altar of English prejudice and xenophobia.

Not a heroic figure, didn’t become idle like Elizabeth, but long reign far more than an inglorious interlude.




Traditional Historians

Blame, James’ extravagance, inaptitude, patronage.

Comtemporaries, monarch should “live on his own,” didn’t understand inflation, Elizabethan inheritance.


James and Parliament


Whig Historians: Gardiner

Relationship with Parliament marked by tension and conflict, locate origins of Civil War in this period.

Evidence: use of impeachment, insertion of appropriation clause in 1624 subsidy, withholding of supply to redress grievances.

MPs determined to assert prerogatives, establish a say in government.



Commons a formidable body that challenged his prerogative.

Growing effectiveness of procedure and leadership, advance of power.

Demand for fundamental change, shift of power from Crown to Parliament.


Revisionists: Russel, Kenyon, Coward

Stressed harmony that existed between crown and parliament during James’ reign.

Russel: claims Parliament weak, MPs lacked any coherent constitutional ambition, where Parliament appeared to assert itself e.g.  impeachment, appropriation clause, instigated by PC members.



There were some aspects of genuine constitutional conflict.


David Starkey

Parliament dominated by two main issues, union and finance.

Disagrees with revisionists, argued that opposition was structured and principled, and commanded a majority in the Commons.


Foreign Policy



Tenancy to condemn Stuart FP after the glories of Elizabeth.


Charles, Religion


Nicholas Tyacke

Reverses traditional view, Puritans were not innovators, Charles and Laud reformers who attempted to alter traditional beliefs and practises.


Charles and Parliament


Whigs and Revisionists all agree, at least partly responsible for Civil War.

Notes covering different historians' view on:


- The Settlement

- The Decline of Catholicism

- Puritanism



Notes covering different historians' views on:


- Elizabeth in general

- Faction Fighting

- Elizabethan Parliaments



Notes covering different historians' views on:


- The Rump

- Cromwell's Foreign Policy

- The Imperial Vision/ Western Design

- The Godly Reformation vs. Political Reform

- Failure of the Godly Reformation

- A Hero or a Villain

- Military Dictatorship

- Reform

- Return to Monarchy


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