Main | The Two Bodies of the King »


Welcome to History 3152. This term we will survey the history of Britain starting in a moment of intense political crisis in the 17th century during which orthodoxies were challenged by new ideas about sovereignty, the role of "the people" in government, the power of the Church in society, and the power and legitimacy of the Nation. Through the course of the term we will follow the story of Britain as it becomes a powerful empire and seeks to export some of its new vision of civilization to the corners of the globe. Of course, building empire was never just about civilizing people (in fact, it was often the case that imperial subjects were forcefully held at a distance from the promise of British concepts of political and religious freedom, freedom of contract, and even popular sovreignty). We will continue the story through the violent processes of decolonization, world wars, and the emergence and subsequent dismalting (we can debate this point) of the Welfare State. Hopefully, we'll take the story right up to the present day.
Please feel free to contribute to any comment posted by me or any of your colleagues. Also, feel free to start conversations here; there's no need to stay on the topics that I find interesting.
I look forward to hearing from all of you this term!


In the beheading of the king I would imagine that it would leave open an idea to certain people, such as Cromwell, that they can take over and obtain the power for themselves. If the king is seen as being just below God himself, and the people are able to behead him, it has a lot of connotations. Perhaps there is a national feeling after this that there is no one higher than England and its people, and due to this sentiment it could have, in part, lead to the motivation for the building of their great empire, or two empires as it would seem eventually.

The four readings appear to have one common theme and that is reason. Furthermore, each writer expands that man's reason can error and is also faulty and that is a sixth sense created by man. In addition, man has no reason to make assertions about the universe because all man knows is his own senses. I don't know if this makes any sense. Also, it appears as if the writers make the statement that religion was founded from reason where man was looking for answers to the unexplainable. After reading the four readings I don't understand what the writers are advocating? Are they advocating that man abandons reason or that we understand the flaws in man's reason. What is the value of reason in understanding early British history? I'm a little puzzled on how this correlates to British history besides the time period these pieces are written and the reasoning behind religion. One aspect I found interesting was the emphasis some of the writers placed on the role of nature. It seems as if some of the writers would be in conflict with Locke's impression of nature.