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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3493 War, Regicide and Republic: England, 1642-1660

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Prof Stephen Alford
Email: s.alford@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is an account of the politics of England in a British and Irish context between 1642 and 1660, a period of civil war and the republic of a commonwealth and the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The module explores the change and challenge of these years – the effort to come to terms with the trauma of hugely destructive civil conflict; of a free and unlicensed press; of passionate religious and constitutional debate; of proposals for liberty and universal male suffrage; and of radical groups and movements that confronted accepted ideas of church, politics and society. The module examines the nature of the English republic and explores why there was a restoration of king and monarchy in 1660.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students will have acquired the ability to:
- analyse and interpret both written and non-written evidence;
- assess critically the complexities of the scholarly literature for the years between 1642 and 1660;
- use written, visual and electronic resources appropriately and persuasively; and
- present, in writing and orally, well-supported historical arguments.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able:
- to understand and to analyse the events of the English civil wars, commonwealth and republic and the consequences of those events;
- to consider the motivations of historical actors; and
- to explain contemporary systems of thought in politics, society and religion.


Syllabus

Between 1642 and 1660 the kingdoms of Britain and Ireland were turned upside down by forces utterly transformative of politics, government, religion and society. In those eighteen years two exceptionally bloody civil wars were fought, a king, Charles I, was put on trial and then executed, and monarchy and the House of Lords were abolished. A standing army first defended and then challenged the authority of Parliament. The language of the Bible saturated the imaginations and arguments of people who believed they fought for God. For the first (and only) time in English history a written constitution set out unambiguously the powers of government. These were years of change and challenge: of the effort to come to terms with the trauma of hugely destructive civil conflict; of a free and unlicensed press; of passionate religious and constitutional debate; of proposals for liberty and universal male suffrage; and of radical groups and movements that confronted accepted ideas of church, politics and society. These were years, too, of difficulty and paradox, where the effort after 1642 to free the people from the tyranny of a king became in the 1650s the rule of a military junta. As extraordinary was the restoration in 1660 of another king, Charles II, and the full pomp of traditional monarchy.

While taking into account the Scottish and Irish landscape of the years between 1642 and 1660, this module will concentrate most particularly on the experience of civil war and its consequences in England. Setting out in six survey lectures the events and themes of this period, we will examine in weekly seminars key moments, documents and personalities of the 1640s and 1650s. We will pay close attention to the careers and motivations of political actors like Charles I and Oliver Cromwell; to the organisation and operations of the New Model Army and Parliament; to the books and pamphlets of John Milton, John Lilburne and Thomas Hobbes; to the regicide of 1649; to groups and movements like the Levellers, the Diggers and the Quakers; to the social, political, cultural and constitutional consequences of war and upheaval; and to the art and material culture of the period. Students will use electronic resources like Early English Books Online and the Thomason Tracts to encounter documents of the period as they were printed and read at the time. We will use art, objects and artefacts (especially those in the Royal Armouries in Leeds) to make sense of the period.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Seminar112.0022.00
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

To prepare for seminars students will be expected to study some articles, books and documents. These will be set out clearly in the module handbook.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be monitored on class contributions and the quality of the non-assessed work that they will be required to complete for each seminar.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000-word essay, due by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 930.00
PresentationVerbal presentation10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019

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