The British Monarchy: 1485-1837
This course will study the history of the monarchy from the great Tudor dynasty to the accession of Queen Victoria. Encompassing some of the most charismatic and controversial of sovereigns in British history, the period saw a transition from an autocratic to a constitutional monarchy, as a second-rate European state developed into a great imperial power. Primarily by study of the role of personality and politics, the monarchy can serve as an excellent vantage-point from which to examine the profound economic, religious and social changes which accompanied this transformation of both institution and state. The monarchy’s power may have steadily declined, but it never failed to reflect the impact of such widespread innovations, as it still does in modern times. Required reading will center on biographical and political accounts of sovereigns and their principal advisers, but students will be encouraged to study published primary sources to enhance their understanding of both court and political nation. The genius of Holbein, Van Dyck, Kneller, Hogarth and others will also stimulate discussion of changing perceptions of monarchy, as will examination of palaces and royal homes. Visits to Greenwich, Hampton Court, and Whitehall will complement the set reading, while Oxford itself, the royal capital in its darkest hour, provides an ideal site in which to study the development of the monarchy.
Dr. Perry Gauci, M.A., D. Phil., Oxford, is fellow and tutor in modern history at Lincoln College, Oxford. He has taught early modern history at Oxford since 1990, and his research interests center on the political impact of the merchant classes from 1660 to 1750. He has published two books with Oxford University Press: Politics and Society in Great Yarmouth, 1660-1720 in 1996 and The Politics of Trade: The Overseas Merchant in State and Society, 1660-1720 in 2001.
The Road to Independence: 1763-83: A Trans-Atlantic Perspective
This course is designed to give American students a fresh and challenging perspective on the creation of the USA. Although events in America will remain a central study, the road to independence will be also seen through a British perspective, and within a broader context of European imperial development in the eighteenth century. In this vein, the course will not only cover the familiar political-constitutional landmarks, but seek to clarify the political, religious and cultural causes behind the great schism of the British Empire. The coarse will broadly follow a chronological approach to the developing crisis, from the growing rifts of the 1760's, to the outbreak of war, and to the final settlement of 1783. Opportunities to specialize within the period are provided by the two papers, and students will be encouraged to study primary sources to develop their views of the major themes of conflict. Relations between America and Europe have lasting impact on the development of societies on both sides of the Atlantic, and never more so than at this dramatic time.
Last Modified: January 5, 2007