CU View on Religion of King Charles II and His Privy Paper

DescriptionLength: 5-7 double-spaced pages
The term paper (which takes the place of a final exam): this assignment requires you to
pretend are offering advice to the new King Charles II or his privy council in 1660 and
you must do so by drawing upon the history which you have absorbed in our course this
semester. You may offer advice to the new king or his council on any subject or theme
you wish, but your paper must make detailed reference to the contents of at least one of
the primary source documents which have been provided for discussion this semester.
Your paper should also clearly draw upon material from our textbook (Tombs). In
addition, your paper can draw upon any other readings provided for this course (eg the
optional readings or articles provided to supplement weekly reading). I can also upload
additional readings on specific topics if you request them (and I can find suitable
readings on that topic!).
We will cover the 1650s in the final module of our course (Topic 10 in Week 15), but
here is some background information which will help you to contextualize the term
paper in advance of Week 15:
In January 1649, Charles I was executed after losing two civil wars and the monarchy in
England and Ireland was abolished (the story in Scotland was a bit more complicated).
The puritans who supported the parliamentary side in the Civil Wars of the 1640s had
already ensured that the Church of England was also dis-established. England, and
later Ireland and Scotland, were governed by an English republic, effectively based
upon the power of the army and dominated by puritan-style religion. Between 1653 and
1658, this English Republic (known as the Commonwealth) was dominated by a military
strongman, Oliver Cromwell, who was given the title of Lord Protector. However, after
Cromwell’s death in 1658, the republic rapidly fell apart. This is why the monarchy was
revived in 1660 (“the Restoration”) and Charles I’s eldest son was invited back from
exile overseas to become Charles II. This makes 1660 a very interesting time: the
experiment with republicanism and puritan religious policies had failed, but Charles
could not directly challenge most of those associated with the republic if he wanted to
restore national unity and build support for himself as king. The very word “Restoration”
itself also suggested a return to political normality (after a very abnormal twenty years!)
and a revival of England’s traditional (ie historical) practices and values.
These are the historical circumstances in which your term paper is supposed to offer
some kind of advice to Charles II as he prepares to become king, or to his new privy
council. As noted above, this advice must draw upon some of the history which we have
covered in the course this semester and must meet the very basic source requirements
noted above (which I have kept to a minimum to give you maximum flexibility).
The key criteria for assessing the term paper will be: (i) the thought and imagination
which the paper shows in using ideas and material from our course this semester to
respond to the advice-writing scenario which has been laid out here; (ii) that the paper
maintains the imaginary advice-writing scenario by reflecting some basic cultural
assumptions of the era; and (iii), less importantly, that the paper meets the minimum
source requirements laid out above and is coherently structured, references sources
where appropriate and reads well.
What do we mean by the expectation that the term paper should reflect some of the
basic cultural assumptions of the society which we have studied this semester? We
have explored numerous cultural assumptions of English history before 1660 in class
this semester, most directly in discussing the primary source extracts. Some of these
basic assumptions include, for example: views on religion and God’s role in human
affairs; a continuing fear of religious pluralism because of the challenge which it posed
to notions of political and social unity; a belief in the special value of history as a means
of finding guidance for informing future actions; and a growing recognition of the political
significance of the common people, but still a revulsion towards the idea of real
democracy (which would challenge the social order supposedly ordained by God) and
as rejection of any formal role for women (except as the sovereign).
Some basic formatting guidance for your term paper:
-the paper should be 5-7 pages in length
-the paper must be double-spaced, with the pages numbered
-the paper should include references or citations (in-text, footnote or endnote) for the
sources used in writing it: a reference is mandatory when you quote from a source or
when you paraphrase a point that would not be considered as basic knowledge within
our course

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