Charles I and Catholics in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Catholics fought on both the royalist and parliamentarian sides during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, as both sides skirted religious tests meant to deprive Catholics of access to arms in a rush to win the war. The force of necessity provided leverage to the Catholic minority, as their wartime service enabled them to press for religious liberties they had been unable to secure in peacetime. Though these efforts ultimately failed, the negotiations over Catholic toleration during the Civil Wars demonstrate that, under the right circumstances, a minority group could wield a surprising amount of power in a divided society.
Twelve friends of the late Mark Kishlansky reconsider the meanings of England’s mid-seventeenth-century revolution. Their essays range widely: from shipboard to urban conflicts; from court sermons to local finances; from debates over hairstyles to debates over the meanings of regicide; from courtrooms to pamphlet wars; and from religious rights to human rights. Taken together, these essays indicate how we might improve our understanding of a turbulent epoch in political history by approaching it more modestly and quietly than historians of recent decades have often done.
Paul D. Halliday, Eleanor Hubbard, and Scott Sowerby
Mark Kishlansky spent his life fascinated with politics. Early in his career, he mapped the rise of ‘adversary politics’ in the 1640s out of what he saw as a previously consensual political culture. He thus became a leading figure associated with ‘revisionism’ in seventeenth-century English history. Over time, Kishlansky’s interests drew him to the cultural history of politics, but he did not take the cultural turn. He operated with a grounding presupposition about humanness: that individuals’ choices matter, and in a monarchical society, no individual’s choices mattered more than the king’s. Taking monarchy seriously was the ultimate expression of Kishlansky’s central commitment: to understand past historical actors on their own terms. Doing so would revolutionise our understanding of politics. The essays in this book aspire to a paradoxical kind of historiographical revolution: one sparked by analytic modesty. As Kishlansky would have wanted it, they address particulars: practices and moments, authors and arguments that indicate the lineaments of revolution. Instead of wrestling with the hoary question of why a revolution happened in the 1640s and 1650s, they speak to how revolution worked. Taken together, they suggest the diversity of interest and ecumenism of method that reflects the state of the field and Mark Kishlansky’s own approaches to political history.