Γαγανάκης Κωνσταντίνος, αναπληρωτής καθηγητής, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Ράπτης Κωνσταντίνος, αναπληρωτής καθηγητής, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Παπαθανασίου Μαρία, αναπληρώτρια καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
In 1642 England entered a long and bloody civil war between king Charles I and the Parliament. The two opposing sides managed to mobilise on their behalf a great part of the English population using ideological and political means. Even though popular parliamentarianism has been thoroughly studied, the question of the influence of royalist ideas on the English people and of popular royalism during the civil war is much neglected by historians. The aim of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive study of the phenomenon of popular royalism.
The first part of the work surveys the period from the enthronement of James I in 1603 to the calling of the Long Parliament in 1640, in an attempt to trace the political, ideological and cultural origins of popular royalism of the 1640s and 1650s. In this context, we study the monarchical ideology of the early Stuarts, James I and Charles I, who promoted an absolutist conception of monarchy, according to which the king governs by the grace of God. Moreover, we investigate the ways in which Charles I attempted to legitimise his authority through several public rituals, that aimed at preaching the values of monarchy to the English people. Furthermore, we approach the subject of the politicisation of the lower classes in this particular period, and also that of popular religiousness and the issue of anti-puritanism, a phenomenon affecting
different social classes, that created an important cultural background for the development of popular royalism of the period 1640-1660.
In the second and third parts, through the study of royalist propaganda, we analyse the emergence of royalism as a distinct political ideology, that promoted an active participation of the population to the defence of monarchy and the king. In other words, we study the transformation of royalism from a passive stance to an active and conscious political choice for the lower classes. In this context, we are presented with incidents of active support for Charles by the royalist crowd, aiming to highlight the influence of royalism on popular politics and culture. Moreover, we examine the enrichment of royalist propaganda with popular and populist elements, in the attempt of royalist propagandists to approach the middling and lower sorts of people. This interaction between the ideology of royalism and popular culture signals the emergence of an original popular royalism, that matured in conditions of persecution for the royal party after its defeat in the first civil war (1642-1646), and was expressed through rebellions, riots, symbolical gestures and seditious words in favor of the king, until the Restoration of the Stuarts in 1660.
England, 17th-century, royalism, popular culture, antipuritanism, Charles I