John Walter
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Killing (Catholic) officers no crime? The politics of religious violence in England in 1640
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This chapter re-visits the handful of puzzling episodes in which officers were murdered by troops enrolled to fight the Scots in 1640–1. Bringing new evidence to their study and exploring the micro-politics of each episode, the chapter sets these incidents within the context of what it argues was a more general level of violence triggered by the mustering of often recalcitrant troops. In offering a thick description of the performative violence with which the officers were killed, the paper challenges existing explanations for the killings. Exceptional as these episodes were, an attention to what was said and done suggests that they can provide valuable evidence of more widely held beliefs (about religion, politics, honour and masculinity) which challenges not only existing explanations but also a continuing tendency to reproduce contemporary (and elitist) judgements about an apolitical people.

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Rethinking public politics in the English Revolution

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