Culture and Power in England, 1585–1685 by R. Malcolm Smuts

By R. Malcolm Smuts

This e-book offers a clean synthesis of relationships among cultural background and politics, from the eve of the Armada to the loss of life of Charles II in 1685. It rejects whiggish and Marxist teleologies that experience formed prior bills of this topic and emphasises as an alternative the range of cultural views to be had within the interval; the position performed via suggestions of honour, legislations, divine windfall and humanist scholarship; the profound value of spiritual tensions in shaping political mind's eye; and the starting to be cultural significance of clash and partisanship in the course of and after the Civil battle.

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But Sir Thomas Smith, in the late sixteenth century, had also described all legal systems as subject to continuous alteration, caused by the inevitable tendency of liberty and power to encroach upon each other. 109 It was not only defenders of the subjects' rights who felt threatened. Some of James's servants believed his power was jeopardized by demagoguery dressed up in common law arguments. 'Monarchies in name do often degenerate into aristocracies or rather oligarchies,' Bacon wrote in 1607, ' ...

Higher education was much more socially restricted, especially in the seventeenth century, when over half the students at Oxford and Cambridge were sons of gentlemen, professionals or clergy and most of the rest probably came from wealthy urban backgrounds. 149 Within the universities there was also an informal division between students studying for careers in the Church and young gentlemen who usually failed to finish a degree. The actual content of university education in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries has been a subject of some dispute.

Savile's successor at Eton was another diplomat, Sir Henry Wotton. Humanist intellectuals served the Crown in various ways, including the production of controversial literature. Leicester and Burghley both actively patronized Protestant controversialists, while in the early seventeenth century James I recruited the great French scholar Isaac Casaubon to write tracts defending the Oath of Allegiance. 162 In the dangerous environment of the late sixteenth century, some of the most useful knowledge transactions involved gathering material not from classical texts, but direct observation of contemporary affairs, especially abroad.

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