England, 1485-1688

HIS 332 ☙ University of Miami ☙ Spring 2017
Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays from 11:15am-12:05pm in Memorial 202

Professor: Dr. Karl Gunther
Department of History, Ashe 611
Office Hours on Mondays, 9:00-11:00am

Teaching Assistant: Mr. Julio Yarce
Department of History, Ashe 627C
Office Hours on Fridays, 1:00-3:00pm

Course Description and Goals (a.k.a "Student Learning Outcomes")

Thanks to television programs like “The Tudors,” films like “Shakespeare in Love," and novels like “The Other Boleyn Girl," most Americans know something about Henry VIII and his six wives, about his daughters “Bloody” Mary and Elizabeth the “Virgin Queen," about William Shakespeare and his plays, about the puritans and the Pilgrims, and about Isaac Newton and the so-called Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth-century.  This course will examine all of these figures, but it will also pay attention to the millions of men and women who are not household names, but who lived through this extraordinarily tumultuous period in English history.  The people of early modern England lived in an age of revolutions: a Reformation in the 16th century that brought change to almost every aspect of life, a Civil War in the mid-17th century that unleashed chaos and brought a temporary end to the monarchy, and a purportedly “Glorious” Revolution in 1688 that ushered in the modern era of English and British history. Alongside these events, these centuries saw unprecedented population growth and severe economic changes.  Why did these dramatic events happen, how did people respond to them, and what were the consequences of their choices?  In HIS 332 we will discover answers to these questions and also reflect on what early modern England might teach us about our own tumultuous moment in history. At the conclusion of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify major themes and developments in this period of British history
  • discuss significant debates about key events in this period of British history
  • analyze primary and secondary sources
  • work as part of a group to solve intellectual problem
  • think critically and analytically and construct persuasive arguments, differentiating fact from conjecture

Required Books

  • Mark Hailwood, Alehouses and Good Fellowship in Early Modern England (pb: 978-1783271542)
  • K. J. Kesselring (ed.), The Trial of Charles I (pb: 978-1554812912)
  • Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys (pb: 978-0812970715 — there are many editions of Pepys’s diary, each of which abridges it in different ways, so make sure you purchase THIS edition of the diary)
  • Keith Wrightson, Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (pb: 978-0300094121)

All other readings for the course will be available electronically. You can access some of them by clicking on the links in the schedule below, which will direct you to permalinks on the library’s website; click “Find Online” and proceed from there (you may be prompted to enter your CaneID). Others, for reasons of copyright, are available in the “Course Reserves” section of the course’s Blackboard page.


  1. Exams (45%). You will take three blue-book essay exams in this course, each worth 15% of your final grade. The exams will not be cumulative: they will only examine you on material covered since the previous exam. You will have a choice of questions to answer on each exam.
  2. Hailwood essay (20%). You will write a 5-page critical analysis of Mark Hailwood’s Alehouses and Good Fellowship in Early Modern England. Please do not write a chapter-by-chapter summary. Rather, please first read historian Patrick Rael’s advice on “How to Read a Secondary Source.” Follow Rael’s “STAMP” method while you read the book and then write a paper that critically analyzes the book’s structure, thesis, argument, motives, and primary sources. The word “critical” here doesn’t necessarily mean “negative.” It means you need to assess the various aspects of the book and consider whether they are successful or persuasive. Your assessment could be overwhelmingly negative, but it could also be overwhelmingly positive or more mixed; it all depends on your assessment. For the grading criteria, please consult this rubric.
  3. Kesselring essay (20%). Write a 5-page essay that answers the following questions posed by Kesselring in The Trial of Charles I: “Did the trial indict the institution of monarchy itself, or did it indict Charles for being a bad monarch?…What was the relationship between regicide and republicanism? Does one necessarily imply the other?” Make sure your essay begins with a thesis, develops a logical argument, supports its claims with specific evidence from the documents in the Kesselring volume, and addresses possible counter-arguments.
  4. Discussion (15%). We will frequently discuss the assigned readings in class and we will devote several days entirely to discussing the assigned books. You will read the assigned texts carefully and participate actively in class discussions. Infrequent or perfunctory participation in discussion will significantly affect your final grade.
  5. Extra credit opportunity. You have the option to write an extra-credit paper that answers the following question: "How has studying the history of early modern Britain changed the way you view life in the 21st century?" The paper should have a title and be five doubled-spaced pages long; it should have a thesis, be logically organized, and reference specific things we have studied in class while answering the question. Your grade on this paper will replace your lowest grade on the papers or the first two exams (but not the final exam), whichever will help your final grade more. The paper is due at the beginning of the final class session (April 28th), both on paper and on SafeAssign. No late papers will be accepted.


I expect you to attend all class sessions and attendance will be taken every day. If you are absent due to illness, it is your responsibility to provide a doctor’s note to Mr. Yarce. Numerous absences will affect your final course grade.

Assignments & Deadlines.
You must submit all assignments by the beginning of class (11:15am) on the day they are due, both on paper and electronically to SafeAssign on Blackboard. Papers not turned in by 11:15am in both formats are late and will be penalized one-third of a letter grade per day late. All assignments must be completed in order to pass the course. You have the option of submitting drafts of the papers no less than 10 days in advance of the deadlines to receive feedback for revision.

All papers must have:

  • a title
  • 1 inch margins
  • numbered pages
  • double spaced, 12 pt font
  • internal citations —> (Hailwood p. 32)

If you have any questions about the course or the assignments, please meet with me during my office hours or contact me via email.  I will reply to email within 24 hours, but not on Saturday or Sunday.  If you are struggling in this course or feel like you are falling behind, please contact me or the TA so that we can be of assistance.  

Honor Code
Your conduct in this course is governed by the University of Miami Honor Code.  Any instances of plagiarism or academic dishonesty will be reported immediately to the Honor Council and, in addition to whatever sanctions they impose, will result in a failing grade for the course.

Electronic devices
You may not use a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone during class.  Put your phone away during class time. Why?  There is a significant body of research that shows that students who multi-task on laptops, tablets, and phones during class not only earn lower grades, but also distract and lower the grades of their nearby classmates.  Apparently even taking notes on a laptop, rather than by hand, can have a negative impact on your learning.  See this essay by Clay Shirky, a professor at NYU who teaches social media, for a summary of this research and an explanation of why he has banned electronic devices entirely from his classroom.  If you have questions or concerns about this policy, please contact me and we can discuss them.

Religious Holy Days.
Per University of Miami policy, please inform me in writing by the end of the first week of classes if you plan to be absent from class this semester to observe a religious holy day.

If you wish to request a disability accommodation for this course, you must first register with the Office of Disability Services and then provide me with the “Letter to Professor” at least two weeks before you wish to use this accommodation.  All information regarding disabilities and accommodations will be kept strictly confidential.  


1/18. Introduction

1/20. Kingship in Medieval England
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 1

1/23. Ireland and England in the Later Middle Ages
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 2

1/25. Scotland and England in the Later Middle Ages
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 3

1/27. Discussion: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, chs. 1-4
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 4

1/30. The Wars of the Roses and the Tudor Monarchy

2/1. The English Church on the Eve of the Reformation
Read: Peter Marshall, “Catholic Puritanism in Pre-Reformation EnglandBritish Catholic History 32:4 (2015), pp. 431-450.

2/3. The King's Great Matter and the Break with Rome
Read: Diarmaid MacCulloch, “Henry VIII and the Reform of the Church” in MacCulloch (ed.), The Reign of Henry VIII (1995), pp. 159-180. Download from Course Reserves on Blackboard.

2/6.  Thomas More’s Dangerous Game

2/8.  Reactions to the English Reformation
Read: Susan Brigden, “Youth and the English ReformationPast & Present 95 (May 1982), pp. 37-67; Ethan Shagan, “Selling the sacred: Reformation and dissolution at the Abbey of Hailes” in Popular Politics and the English Reformation (2003).

2/10.  Reformation and Politics in Tudor Ireland

2/13. Bloody Mary?
Read: Thomas S. Freeman, “Burning Zeal: Mary Tudor and the Marian Persecution” in Susan Doran and Thomas S. Freeman (eds.), Mary Tudor: Old and New Perspectives (2011), pp. 171-205. Download from Course Reserves on Blackboard.

2/15. The Scottish Revolution

2/17. Exam #1

2/20. The Problem of Queenship
Read: Judith Richards, “Mary Tudor as ‘Sole Quene’?: Gendering Tudor MonarchyThe Historical Journal 40:4 (Dec. 1997), pp. 895-924.

2/22. Puritans
Read: Peter Lake, “‘A Charitable Christian Hatred’: The Godly and their Enemies in the 1630s” in Christopher Durston and Jacqueline Eales (eds.), The Culture of English Puritanism, 1560-1700 (1996), pp. 145-183. Download from Course Reserves on Blackboard.

2/24. Catholics and the Elizabethan State
Start reading Hailwood, Alehouses and Good Fellowship

2/27. The Turning Point that Didn’t Turn: The Spanish Armada

3/1. Elizabeth: A Golden Age?

3/3.  NO CLASS

3/6. William Shakespeare in His Time
Read: Michael D. Bristol, “Shakespeare: The Myth” in David Kastan (ed.), A Companion to Shakespeare (1999), pp. 489-502. Download from Course Reserves on Blackboard.

3/8. Discussion: Hailwood, Alehouses and Good Fellowship, chs. 1-2
Hailwood Essay Due

3/10. Discussion: Hailwood, Alehouses and Good Fellowship, chs. 3-4

3/13-3/17. Spring Break

3/20. James VI/I and Great Britain
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 5

3/22. The Gunpowder Plot  
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 6

3/24. Irish Plantations and Scottish Highlands
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 7

3/27. Discussion: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, chs. 5-9
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, chs. 8-9

3/29. Charles I, Laudianism, and the Personal Rule
Read: Peter Lake, “Anti-Popery: the Structure of a Prejudice” in Richard Cust and Ann Hughes (eds.), Conflict in Early Stuart England (1989), pp. 72-97. Download from Course Reserves on Blackboard.

3/31.  Exam #2
Start reading Kesselring, The Trial of Charles I (paper due 4/7)

4/3. Rebellions, the Long Parliament, and the Road to War

4/5.  The English Civil War


4/10. Discussion: The Trial of Charles I, pp. 19-150
Kesselring Essay Due

4/12. Oliver Cromwell and the Interregnum
Start reading The Diary of Samuel Pepys

4/14. The Restoration

4/17. Discussion: The Diary of Samuel Pepys

4/19. The Coffeehouse
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, chs. 10-11

4/21. London on Fire: the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, chs. 12-13

4/24. Discussion: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, chs. 10-14 and Conclusion
Read: Wrightson, Earthly Necessities, ch. 14 and Conclusion

4/26. 1688 and the English Reformation

4/28. 1688 and the British Monarchy

Final Exam
Wednesday May 3rd, 11:00am-1:30pm