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Seminar Group 5

Tutor: Dr Benjamin Redding


Office: H3.06

Office Hours: Monday 11-12; Tuesday 3-4

Seminar Time and Location: Tuesday 10-11, H2.44

Students: Jonathan Abraham, Conor Boyle, Cameron Butcher, Richard Caswell-Jones, Jakia Chaudhary, Grace Hanlon, Amy Heard, Jem Luanga, Rachel Magee, Milo Richards, Neyat Soloman Zerabruk, Emma Spray, Nile Thomas, Yumna Waheed, Luke Walters, Georgia Whybrow-Harris.



Tasks and Preparation

This seminar will round-up the course. We will explore issues of 'Britishness' and 'identity'. I also want to take this as an opportunity for thinking about revision and strategies for planning an essay question on a question that encompasses themes relating to the whole course, rather than a specific topic.

  • Plan an answer to one of the seminar questions below (based on past exam questions from question 10 of the paper). Make use of the suggested readings on the lecture page.
  • Have a think about what you think 'Britishness' means and consider whether your views have changed having studied this course.
  • Think about some of the key political, religious, economic, international moments in each of the Three Kingdoms covered in this course and when they occurred.
  • You may find this glossary of key terms (also available through the module homepage) helpful when preparing for your revision.
  • You can complete an answer to a mock exam paper. I won't have time to mark and give individual feedback before the exam, but can go through your plans for the answer and read drafts in my office hours.

Seminar question (past exam questions)

  • Were European ties more significant than British identities in this period? (2014)
  • In what senses (if any) did Britons conceive of themselves as Europeans? (2015)
  • Was ‘Britishness’ simply the invention of England's rulers? (2016)
  • Does a ‘British’ approach to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century politics neglect the
    impact of continental Europe on the British Isles? (2017)
  • Is it meaningful to speak of any kind of British identity by 1714? (2017 September re-sit)
  • Did literature play any role in shaping a British Identity? (2018) NB the week on literature (formerly Term 1 Week 7) has been replaced by the week on 'Wales and the Making of the British Nation'.

During the break you may wish to take a look at one of the *key texts* available here. Combined, these texts cover the full scope of the module, so start revising early by taking a look at one of these now.

Term Two

Week 10 – The Act of Union

This week, we will explore the Act of Union, which united the English and Scottish kingdoms in 1707.

Please read:

  1. First, either Clare Jackson, ‘Union Historiographies’, in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History, ed. by T. M. Devine and Jenny Wormald (2012), (ebook) OR M. Goldie ‘Divergence and Union: Scotland and England, 1660–1707’, in B. Bradshaw and J. Morrill (eds.), The British Problem, c. 1534–1707 (available here).
  2. Second, Read what you can of the 1707 Articles of Union - get a feeling for some of the terms on which Union was negotiated.

When preparing for the seminar consider the following questions:

  • Who supported the 1707 Union and who opposed it – and why?
  • How important was the Darien disaster in pushing Scotland into union with England?
  • Did the Act of Union reflect convergence or divergence between England and Scotland?
  • How important was Protestantism in making Union between England and Scotland possible?
  • How important was conflict with Louis XIV of France in creating a 'British' identity?


First, my apologies again for having to postpone last week's seminar due to illness. We will discuss during the week nine seminar options for rescheduling the late-Stuart Ireland seminar. This week however, we will move to the topic of Scottish Imperialism, and in particular, we will look at the failed Darien expansion scheme, which was a precursor to the 1707 Act of Union.

Seminar Preparation and Tasks

  • Read your assigned primary source extracts below.
  • Read chapter 2 'Moving West' from Thomas Devine's, Scotland's Empire (2004) (available here).

Optional work: You may also find a short article that Naomi wrote in 2016 for the newspaper site 'The Conversation' useful: Scotland's Darien Disaster: The First Great Financial Scandal in Panama'. Or, as an alternative, you may also find Eric J. Graham, ‘In Defence of the Scottish Maritime Interest, 1681-1713’, Scottish Historical Review, LXXI (1992) to be an interesting read.

Primary Reading

We will consider the following questions

  • Why did the Scots aspire to build a colony at Darien?
  • What foreign (including English) influences shaped this scheme?
  • Why did the Darien design and its fall-out prove to be so explosive?
  • Was the Darien venture doomed to failure from the beginning?


Seminar Preparation and Tasks

We will consider the following questions:

  • What motivated William Molyneux to write The Case of Ireland and what were his core arguments?

  • Why was the Revolution so violent in Ireland 1688-91?

  • How united were the Protestants of Ireland 1660-1700?


Debate: Did the events of 1688-91 constitute a revolution?

Preparation and tasks

This week we will stage a debate devoted to the events of 1688-91. Come to the seminar with some points for discussion that serve to support your side of the argument. We will also spend some time going over long-essay skills.

  • I have assigned each of you to one side of the motion (below).To prepare for this debate, please come prepared to argue in favour of your assigned position and to challenge the other perspectives with counter-arguments.
  • You might also find this BBC Radio 4 'In our Time' podcast on the 'Glorious Revolution' useful if you haven't already listed to it.

Arguing for the motion: Grace Hanlon, Amy Heard, Jem Luanga, Rachel Magee, Milo Richards, Nile Thomas, Luke Walters, Georgia Whybrow-Harris

Arguing against the motion: Jonathan Abraham, Conor Boyle, Cameron Butcher, Jakia Chaudhary, Yumna Waheed, Neyat Soloman Zerabruk, Emma Spray, Richard Caswell-Jones

Some useful texts
Claydon, T., 'William III's Declaration of Reasons and the Glorious Revolution', Historical Journal 39 (1996).

T. Harris and S. Taylor, The Final Crisis of the Stuart Monarchy (2013), (e-book) chapters by Stanwood, Claydon, Harris, Gibney, Barnard, Raffe.

Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (2009), introductory section is very good (available in full on google books)

* John Morrill, 'The Sensible Revolution', in Jonathan Israel (ed.), The Anglo-Dutch Moment (1991), pp. 73-104 (scanned copy available here).

Robert Beddard, ed., The Revolutions of 1688 (Oxford, 1991), esp. chapters on Ireland, Scotland, America.

J. Miller, James II: A Study in Kingship (London, 1978).

* Mark Goldie, ‘James II and the Dissenters’ Revenge’, Historical Research, 66 (1993).

G. Tapsell, G. Southcombe, Restoration Politics, religion and culture (2010), chapters on James II, the ‘British dimension’, and conclusion

* G. Southcombe and G. Tapsell, 'Why did James VII and II lost his throne?' in G. Tapsell, G. Southcombe, Restoration Politics, religion and culture (2010), pp. 75-99 (scanned copy available here).

J. Scott, England’s Troubles: Seventeenth-Century English Political Instability in European Context (2000) (e-book)

T. Barnard ‘Scotland and Ireland in the later Stewart monarchy’, in S. Ellis and S.Barber (eds.), Conquest and Union: Fashioning a British State 1485–1725 (1995) (e-book).


Seminar tasks and preparation
This seminar will explore the short-lived reign of James II and the 'Glorious Revolution'. In preparation:

  1. First, read Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (2008), introduction.
  2. Then read William III, Declaration of Reasons (1688) [excerpts]
  3. Finally, I have assigned you a text on the nature of the Glorious Revolution in another part of the British Isles or American colonies. Please come prepared to explain what you've read to the rest of the group.

Scotland: R.P. Barnes, ‘Scotland and the Glorious Revolution of 1688’, Albion, 1971: Grace Hanlon, Amy Heard, Jem Luanga, Rachel Magee, Milo Richards.

Ireland: Toby Barnard, 'Ireland, 1688-91', in Tim Harris (ed.) The Final Crisis of the Stuart Monarchy: The revolutions of 1688-91 in their British, Atlantic and European contexts (2013): Jonathan Abraham, Conor Boyle, Cameron Butcher, Jakia Chaudhary, Yumna Waheed.

The Americas: Richard S. Dunn, 'The Glorious Revolution and America' in Nicholas Canny, The Origins of Empire (1998), pp. 445-66: Neyat Soloman Zerabruk, Emma Spray, Nile Thomas, Richard Caswell-Jones, Luke Walters, Georgia Whybrow-Harris.

If you have the time, you may also be interested in listening to BBC Radio 4 'In our Time' podcast on 'The Glorious Revolution'.


Seminar preparation and tasks

We continue to explore the Restoration monarchy, this time by considering the political stability of Restoration England and Scotland. We will focus on what the Restoration restored, and question why the Dutch and French became England's major enemies in this period.

Images (all of these are from The British Museum Online Collection, where you can find further details and information about each of the sources)

We will discuss the following questions

  • Did the Restoration settle anything?
  • Why were questions of foreign policy so explosive in the British Isles 1660-1685?
  • Why did the Dutch, and then the French, succeed the Spanish as England's major enemies in the late-seventeenth century?
  • How was 'popery' conceived in seventeenth-century England? What impact did the 'Popish Plot' have on late-Stuart politics?


This week, we look at the development of English imperialism in the Restoration world.

First, please read this rather heated debate on the foundations of colonial imperialism:

Then read and be prepared to discuss your assigned primary source extract:

  1. John Evelyn, Navigation and Commerce (1674) - Jonathan Abraham, Conor Boyle, Cameron Butcher, Jakia Chaudhary, Yumna Waheed.
  2. Carew Reynell, The True English Interest (1674) - Grace Hanlon, Amy Heard, Jem Luanga, Rachel Magee, Milo Richards.
  3. William Blathwayt, 'Draft of the charter for Pennsylvania, January 1681' in Mary Maples Dunn and Richard S. Dunn, eds., Papers of William Penn (5 vols., Philadelphia, 1981-6), II, 64-73 - Neyat Soloman Zerabruk, Emma Spray, Nile Thomas, Richard Caswell-Jones, Luke Walters, Georgia Whybrow-Harris.

If you have the time, you would also benefit from looking at Abigail Swingen, Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire (2015) (ebook).

We will consider the following questions:

  • What was the Restoration monarchy's plan for empire? Was it successful in achieving its imperial ambitions?
  • What posed the greatest challenge to Charles II's rule of his empire?
  • How far was the expansion of commerce the rationale for the expansion of the English Empire 1650-1688?
  • Did party politics give rise to 'competing visions of empire' (Abigail Swingen)?

Week 2 : One Nation, One Republic

This week our attention turns to the period of history known as the ‘Republic’ or ‘Interregnum’, c. 1649-1660. We will consider the rise of Oliver Cromwell, the refashioning of ‘Britain’ under the Republic and, ideas of empire. In preparation, please read:

  1. Derek Hirst, ‘The English Republic and the Meaning of Britain’, Journal of Modern History 1994.
  2. David Armitage, ‘The Cromwellian Protectorate and the languages of empire’, Historical Journal, 35 (1992).

In class, you will also have the opportunity to read one of Cromwell’s speeches or letters. If you have the time (although it is not expected that you will, in light of the essay deadline) you may wish to look at one of these in advanced. Available here.

We will consider the following questions:

  • Why was the Republic so short-lived?
  • Can the 'Western Design' and foreign policy of the English Republic be described as a success?
  • How central was imperialism to the foreign policy principles of the English Republic and its supporters 1649-1660?
  • Is Oliver Cromwell best characterised as a religious idealist, political idealist, or a pragmatist?
  • How 'Republican' was the English Republic?
  • How far did the rulers of the English Republic seek to remake society in Scotland and Ireland?


Seminar preparation and tasks
We have already covered many of themes of this seminar in previous weeks. In preparation:

  • Choose one of the primary sources from the list below.
  • Choose one of the four key readings from the list below. Come prepared to explain it to the rest of the group.
  • For those of you new to the topic, Ethan Shagan's Introduction to his book Catholics and the Protestant Nation: Religious Politics and Identity in Early Modern England (2005) provides a good overview of the historiography on this subject.

Primary sources

Key readings

Readings from term one can be found here.