Politics of the Elizabethan Era

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Transcript Politics of the Elizabethan Era

1485 AD -1660 AD
Renaissance Spirit
 Medieval Europeans viewed the
world as a place to prepare for life
after death.
 Renaissance means “rebirth” or
 Renaissance Europeans were more
worldly, delighting in art and literature,
in the beauty of nature, in human
impulses and in a new sense of
mastery over the world.
Renaissance Spirit
 Renaissance emphasized the
individual and the importance of
developing human potential.
 The idea “Renaissance Man” was
a person who cultivated his innate
capabilities to the fullest.
Renaissance Spirit
 Perceiving himself as the center of
his own universe, he synthesized the
emotional, rational, social, and
spiritual forces in his life into a
harmonious balance.
 The natural result of secularism and
individualism was a general revolt
against authority.
Renaissance Spirit
 Technological advances in printing
led to more access to literature,
which created a more educated
middle class.
 Shipbuilding and the invention of
navigational devices spurred trade
and made possible geographical
The Tudor Monarchs
 In 1485, the Medieval Period ended
when the War of the Roses was
settled and King Henry VII became
the first Tudor Monarch.
 Most notably, during King Henry’s
reign funded the beginnings of the
powerful fleet of merchant ships and
exploratory expeditions penetrated
North America and established the
English claim to the continent.
The Tudor Monarchs
 King Henry VIII was a true Renaissance
prince, athletic, charming, educated, and
 His reign is responsible for the
establishment of the Anglican Church.
 When he could not receive an
annulment from the Church in Rome, he
founded a new church and named
himself Supreme Head of the English
The Tudor Monarchs
 In earlier times Henry VIII’s defiance of
the Catholic Church would have
created domestic problems.
 However, by this point in history, the
average Englishman felt stronger
loyalty to the king and country than to
the institution of the church.
The Tudor Monarchs
 Given these factors, Parliament in
1534 willingly passed the Act of
Supremacy, which established a
national church with the king as it
 The new Church of England (Anglican
Church) was essentially the Roman
Catholic Church without ties to Rome.
The Tudor Monarchs
 After Henry VIII died, his son, King
Edward VI reigned 6 years and spread
Protestantism throughout England.
 Edward VI died leaving the throne to
his older sister, Mary, who became
known as “Bloody Mary” for the
forceful return of Catholicism to
Queen Elizabeth I
 After a 5 year reign
Mary died, leaving
the throne to her
younger sister,
Politics of the Elizabethan Era
 Elizabeth, the unwanted daughter of
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, ascended
the throne in 1558 and ruled
triumphantly for almost half a century.
 Her reign was a glorious period in
English history, a time of
unprecedented prosperity, artistic
achievement, and international
Politics of the Elizabethan Era
 A consummate politician, exercising
absolute authority while remaining
sensitive to public opinion and
respectful of the forms of
Parliamentary government.
 Contradictory character: vain and
headstrong v. practical and disciplined,
loved pomp and pageantry v. frugal
and balanced the national budget.
Elizabeth Visual
Politics of the Elizabethan Era
 In religion: Elizabeth took a middle-
of-the-road position. She reinstated
the church of England but ended all
religious persecution.
 In foreign policy: Elizabeth managed
to maintain some semblance of
peace throughout most of her reign,
using the possibility of her
marriage for leverage.
Politics of the Elizabethan Era
 At sea: Elizabeth privately funded
pirates to prey on the dominate Spanish
Armada while publicly apologizing to
Spain for their unlawful acts.
 After 25 years of pirate attacks, the king
of Spain dispatched the entire Armada
against the English navy, only to be
defeated by the smaller, more
maneuverable English ships.
Spanish Armada
Speech at Tilbury
Politics of the Elizabethan Era
 After the defeat of the Spanish
Armada, Elizabeth was the undisputed
ruler of the strongest nation in Europe.
 England was the model of social order.
 Religious controversies, political
divisiveness, and economic disruptions
were suppressed or ignored in the
interests of national unity and out
of respect for the beloved queen.
Political Struggles
 Elizabeth’s death in 1603 marked the
end of the powerful Tudor monarchy
and the beginning of the weaker
Stuart dynasty.
 The Stuart Kings met with rising
hostility among the English people
and within the Puritan dominated
House of Commons.
Political Struggles
 First Conflict: King James demanded
that the Puritans and other religious
groups practice the rituals of the
Church of England.
 Second Conflict: This centered around
the Stuart kings’ incessant need for
money and their need for Parliament
approval for taxation.
Comin’ to America
 The religious, political, and economic
unrest of this period stimulated
emigration to British North America,
particularly among nonconforming
worshippers and government critics.
 The Stuart years were England’s first
years of major colonial expansion.
Puritan Revolution
 Due to religious dissent, Puritans who
remained in England eventually rejected
the authority of the king and prepared for
an ideological civil war.
 In 1645, the Puritan army, under the
leadership of Oliver Cromwell, defeated
the king’s army and Cromwell
established himself as absolute governor
of England, enforcing Puritan beliefs.
Puritan Non-Revolution
 The Cromwellian government proved no
more effective than the Stuart dynasty.
 By 1660 almost everyone wanted to
return to the old constitutional rule, with a
king or queen, a House of Lords, and a
House of Commons.
 The restoration of the monarchy in 1660
marks the official end of the Renaissance
Period in English history.
Renaissance Literature
 The literature of the Renaissance
Period can be divided into two
distinctly different categories:
 The Elizabethan Age Literature
 17th Century Prose
and Poetry
Elizabethan Age Literature
 For the first time in history, readers
and listeners, poets and playwrights
all delighted in the vigor and beauty
of the English language.
 London was the center of literary
activity, especially the glittering
Elizabethan court, where the focus
was on poetic creativity.
Elizabethan Age Literature
 Members of the court vied with one
another to see who could create the
most highly polished, technically
perfect poems, particularly the
 The lyrics of these sonnets often
expressed passionate desire for a
beautiful, intriguing, and elusive
Elizabethan Age Literature
 Elizabethan poets created ingenious
metaphors, elaborate allegories, and
complex analogies.
 The poetry of this period appeals to
the intellect as well as to the
emotions, blending the classical
reverence for truth the with
renaissance appreciation for
Century Prose & Poetry
 The literature of the 17th century
begins to reflect a certain
dissatisfaction with the extravagance,
romance, and enthusiasm of the
Elizabethan Age.
 However, even among these writers
there was a great deal of variance in
their approach to literature.
Century Prose & Poetry
 Cavalier Poetry: light hearted,
charming, witty, and sometimes
cynical. Deals with themes of love,
war, chivalry, and loyalty to the throne.
 Metaphysical Poetry: attempts to
encompass the vastness of the
universe and to express and
awareness of life’s complexities
and contradictions.
Century Prose & Poetry
 Essays: significant in the development of
English prose are the essays written by
Sir Francis Bacon. In a compact, clear
style, Bacon explores the controversial
new views of the world.
 King James Bible: The first translation to
make extensive use of Greek and
Hebrew texts, represents the combined
efforts of 50 leading Biblical scholars,
both Anglican and Puritan.
Century Prose & Poetry
 John Milton: The last of the great English
Renaissance men and the only major
puritan writer of the 17th century. His
concerns were more complex, grandiose,
passionate, devotional, and universal
than almost any other English writer.
 In his masterpiece, Paradise Lost, he
demonstrates the triumph of human over
nature that characterizes the spirit of the
English Renaissance.