Publicising sovereignty: a study of sovereignty during the late Interregnum and early Restoration periods through propaganda and polemic

Dursley, J. (2017) Publicising sovereignty: a study of sovereignty during the late Interregnum and early Restoration periods through propaganda and polemic. M.A. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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The Interregnum and Restoration are among the most studied periods of Early Modern History, for they were key events in an era of sweeping political change and experimentation which engaged the entire population.

Building upon the work of Kevin Sharpe, Jason Peacey and Joad Raymond in the realm of propaganda and image making, this thesis will examine how sovereign theory evolved after Oliver accepted the greater spread of powers offered to him in 1657. Specifically, this analysis will focus on the regimes of Oliver Cromwell, Richard Cromwell, the Republican governments of 1659, and Charles II, to explore how the concept of sovereign authority developed by Thomas Hobbes in his 1651 book Leviathan was tested amid the six changes of government between 1657 and 1663. Key to this study will be an investigation into the newsbooks of the period which, as Peacey and Raymond have shown, were instrumental in the state’s attempts to communicate with its population, particularly during the Interregnum. Furthermore, this thesis will examine the political tracts advertised within the various newsbooks to expand upon the relationship between news and state, highlighting how the complex issues of Hobbes’ sovereign theory were broken apart by seventeenth century writers to attack and defend their ideal sovereign.

The result of this study will reveal that Oliver Cromwell, and the role of Protector, were actively promoted as having sole sovereign authority until the end of his rule, effectively forming a template that Charles II’s propagandists and supporters would follow after the Stuart Prince’s Restoration in 1660.

Finally, this thesis will demonstrate that the sovereign arguments used to promote the Republican experiments of 1659 were too artificial to ensure stability in 1659 after Oliver’s death, concluding that a single ruler was the only tolerable form of sovereign rule in Early Modern England.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D0031 Political and diplomatic history
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 01 May 2018 12:28
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2018 16:47

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00