David Armitage, ed. British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory, 1500-1800. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge UP, 2006. xi+338pp. ISBN-13: 9780521870412.
Charles W. A. Prior
University of Hull
Charles W. A. Prior. "Review of David Armitage, ed. British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory, 1500-1800"Early Modern Literary Studies 13.3 (January, 2008) 8.1-6<URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/13-3/revarmit.htm>.
British debates over ecclesiastical jurisdiction developed into disputes over church government, the relationship of church and state, and, by extension, over the location of sovereignty within the state. (55)Within the vast and largely unstudied body of pamphlet literature published in the early modern period, surely the largest sub-set deals with the Church and its relation to the realm. Recent scholarship has demonstrated that this literature repays careful political analysis, not least because the Reformation brought the Church within the channels of civil sovereignty, while leaving a number of political and legal powers in the hands of clerics. As respects the 'British' dimension, the arguments of Canny and (especially) Harris are tempered somewhat by the fact that the Union of the Crowns brought two churches (those of Scotland and England) together under the rule of a single sovereign, while Ireland remained a polyglot kingdom/colony, part Protestant and part Catholic. In 1641, all Three Kingdoms went to war over the matter of religion, as well as their relation to one another as political units gathered into one whole. The implications of this conflict were played out at the Boyne and at Culloden in the eighteenth century, and can be seen to constitute a major theme in the political history of the Isles throughout the early modern period.