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Politics and religion. The British Isles after the Reformation (1603-1714)



BSA norm en beide propedeuse Themacolleges behaald.


The seventeenth century has been an extraordinary period in British history. With the rise of the Stuarts in 1603 the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland formed a personal union under this dynasty. In the ensuing years, however, the British Isles experienced probably the most turbulent time in their entire history including continuous struggles between kings and Parliaments, a Civil War, the execution of king Charles I and the installment of a republic, the restoration of the monarchy, another revolution followed by an invasion from abroad and a fundamental constitutional change and finally the change of the dynasties from Stuart to Hanover. At the centre of these developments were matters of religion and politics. Most of the issues between kings and Parliaments between 1603 and 1689 concerned the application and interpretation of the royal prerogatives, Parliament’s voice in matters of church and state, church reforms and foreign policy. In this course we are going to discuss various events and developments of British history in this period, we dive into the vast array of British historiography on this subject and will shed light on the relationship between politics and religion in early modern Britain.


  • Get acquainted with British history of the seventeenth century and the historiographical debates about this period by reading and studying various major contributions in that field; This will also contribute to a broader European understanding of historiography since British historiography on early-modern politics is leading and exemplary for other national historiographies.

  • Enhance your critical thinking by engaging into the historiographical debate about British history and writing an elaborate essay on one of the subtopics within the range of this seminar.

  • Practice access and use of one of the major collections of sources concerning this subject and period with the database State Papers Online.

  • Practice your oral skills by participating in group discussions and giving a presentation.


Zie rooster Geschiedenis.






Assignments during the seminar (20%), presentation (10%), essay (70%). Passing the essay is obligatory to finish the seminar successfully.


Will be used for course communication.


  • John Spurr, The Post-Reformation. Religion, Politics and Society in Britain 1603 – 1714 (Harlow 2006), ISBN: 0-582-31906-4.

  • Further readings will be provided during the seminar.


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Email: Dhr. D. Pfeifer.


Studenten mogen de opdrachten en het essay ook in het Nederlands schrijven.