Charles I and His Public: Religious Ideology, Political Discourse, and Ceremony, 1625-1633
Type of Degreethesis
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This thesis looks at public debate and ceremony in the early reign of Charles I from 1625 to 1633. It analyzes the various uses of the language of “public” and “private” in the publically aired religious and political debates of the period in order to explore the nature of authority and kingship at the time. By examining the debates that surrounded the religious writings of Richard Montagu and the parliamentary debates and sermons that accompanied the ‘Forced Loans,’ it argues that the contemporary notions of “public” and “private” were part of an increasingly common method of questioning the authority and intent of those who held power. Charles’s attempts to combat these efforts eventually led to a direct confrontation over the “public” and “private” nature of the king himself, which questioned the exact nature and limits of monarchical authority. It then compares Charles’s English coronation in 1626 to his Scottish coronation in 1633 as attempts to partially resolve this conflict by reverting to more orderly public ceremonies. In contrast to a number of historians who find meaningful parallels between the abbreviated nature of the king’s 1626 ceremony and his later public policies, this thesis argues that the 1633 Scottish coronation was actually more representative of the king’s public persona throughout the reign.