The English Revolution

History 280C

Spring 2012
104 GPB
Day & Time: 
Th 2-4

The English Revolution (1640-1660) was an epochal event in British history and European history more broadly. It marked the first time in the western tradition that a representative assembly asserted sovereignty against its monarch and the first time that a European monarchy was overthrown and replaced with a republic. It was also the high-water mark of the European Reformations as for the first and only time a major territorial state was taken over by radical Protestants who sought to push beyond Calvinism. Out of this ferment arose great works of political thought (e.g. Hobbes's Leviathan) great works of literature (e.g. Milton's Paradise Lost), and great religious movements (e.g. Quakerism). Yet for all its importance, historians cannot even agree what to call this event (English Revolution? Civil War? Puritan Revolution? British Revolutions? British Civil Wars? Wars of the Three Kingdoms?) much less agree about its causes and consequences. This graduate seminar explores the critical historiography of the English Revolution (as I prefer to call it!) as well as engaging with many key primary sources in order to help graduate students to understand and investigate this critical historical period. Open to graduate students only, but graduate students from English Literature, Political Science, and other related fields are encouraged to enroll.