The Search for Political Stability in Britain and Ireland: 1660 to 1720

196 TUTOR: David Evans (MA Cambridge Former Head of History and History of Art at Eton College)

After the Republic failed to solve the political and religious problems that had led to civil war in England, Scotland and Ireland in the 1640s, it was hoped that the restored Monarchy of Charles II might do better. On this course, you will explore its failure to do so and the subsequent overthrow of another Stuart monarch in 1688. You will go on to study the results of the so-called Glorious Revolution, the emergence of Britain as a great power and the achievement of political stability, which survived the arrival of a German king in 1714.

3 PM
PM course

Course Notes

1. The context of the search for stability.

Economic development: slackening of population growth; agricultural improvement and the emergence of a grain surplus; the rise of England as a great trading nation; the changing pattern of industry.

European developments: the zenith of Dutch power and prosperity and the impact on England; the emergence of absolute monarchy in France under Louis XIV and its allure as a model.

2. 1641 is come again: crisis under the Restored Monarchy.

The collapse of the republic, 1658-60.

How fully was the Monarchy restored in the early 1660s?

Scotland and Ireland under Charles II.

The re-emergence of serious problems in England, religious and political.

Growing disappointment with the Restored Monarchy by 1674.

The great crisis of Charles II's reign, 1678-81.

Why did Charles II's rule survive his crisis, whereas that of his father in 1641 had collapsed?

3. The Failure of Absolute Rule in Britain and Ireland with the Invasion of 1688.

The Tory reaction of Charles II's last years.

The strength of James II's position in 1685.

James' policies in Scotland and Ireland.

James' policies in England and their impact.

Foreign policy issues and the calculations of William of Orange in 1688.

William's great gamble: the invasion of 1688.

4. The Impact of the Glorious Revolution: the reign of William III.

Revolution in England: bloodless and conservative?

Revolution in Scotland: radical and divisive?

Revolution in Ireland: violent and bloody.

The war with France: England's role in the anti-French coalition; financing the war and its constitutional impact; the war and the rage of party; the war and political criticism of the King.

5. War and looming dynastic crisis: the reign of Queen Anne.

Why and how England got involved in the War of the Spanish Succession.

The reasons for British success in the War.

The Union with Scotland in 1707.

The War as a cause of political division.

Party strife and the succession issue.

The accession of George I and the fading of political conflict.

Books: B. Coward: Stuart Britain.

Ronald Hutton: Charles II.

Anne Somerset: Queen Anne.

Charles Spencer: Blenheim. Battle for Europe.

Course Tutor

David Evans

MA Cambridge Former Head of History and History of Art at Eton College

About David

David Evans was brought up in Birmingham and attended King Edward's School in the city. He studied History at Cambridge and proceeded to teach the subject at Eton College for 41 years. Finding the history of art of absorbing interest, he introduced its study at 'A' Level to Eton. Since 2007 he has taught historical and art historical topics at Marlborough College Summer School.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM