The politics of religion and the religion of politics in Elizabethan England
in This England
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This chapter notes that religion and politics are two distinct substances; but it is not at all clear that that is what they were in Elizabethan England. As for Western Europe in the sixteenth century, historians endlessly debate whether its many wars should be called wars of religion, and what was religious and what was political in its violent uprisings and rebellions. In the American and many other modern constitutions there is a formal separation of church and state. In Elizabethan England, the monarch was more than a commander. Elizabeth was head of the church, or more properly its supreme governor, which contemporaries said amounted to the same thing. Elizabethan England was a confessional state. In some parts of Europe, it was also the case that religion is a form of dissent, and divided states in France and Scotland to the extent of civil war.

This England

Essays on the English nation and commonwealth in the sixteenth century


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